As in years past, the Office of Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson is conducting the Senior Service Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity for outstanding senior citizens across Missouri to be recognized for their service and dedication to their communities. The Lt. Governor will recognize each of the exceptional seniors who are selected at their annual Senior Service Award banquet at the State Capitol in May. Individuals should be at least 60 years of age and volunteer a minimum of 25 hours per year. A copy of the nomination form can be accessed here. The deadline to submit your nominations is March 29, 2018. If you know of a worthy senior citizen within the 51st District, please call me at 573-751-2204 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Back at the Capitol, we had another busy week. The House passed a bill that would continue and expand support for pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes in Missouri. The bill would extend the sunset for tax credits that help encourage investment in these programs that benefit many of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. The House also voted to require the notification of both parents when a minor in Missouri seeks to have an abortion. The bill would not apply in an emergency or for custodial parents or guardians that have been found guilty of certain crimes, are listed on the sex offender registry, are the subject of an order of protection, have had parental rights terminated, or for whom the whereabouts are not known. Both bills are now on their way to the Senate. More on these and other bills below.
Also, the House created a committee that will investigate the charge on which Gov. Eric Greitens has been indicted regarding felony invasion of privacy. The House gave unanimous, bipartisan support to a resolution that outlines the investigative process and the powers the committee will have to conduct the investigation. The committee will begin its work immediately.
House Sends Pro-Life Bill to Senate (HB 1383)
The Missouri House has voted to require the notification of both parents when a minor in Missouri seeks to have an abortion. The House gave final approval to the bill this week and sent it to the Senate. The legislation would require that a parent or guardian giving consent for a minor to have an abortion notify any other custodial parent or guardian in writing before the minor gives her consent. It would not apply in an emergency or for custodial parents or guardians that have been found guilty of certain crimes, are listed on the sex offender registry, are the subject of an order of protection, have had parental rights terminated, or for whom the whereabouts are not known.
Missouri law now requires that a minor seeking an abortion and one parent or guardian of that minor give written consent before the procedure can be performed.
House Moves to Continue Support for Pregnancy Resource Centers and Maternity Homes (HBs 1288, 1377 & 2050)
House members gave their approval this week to legislation that would continue and expand support for pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes in Missouri. The bill would extend the sunset for tax credits that help encourage investment in these programs that benefit many of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. Under current law, the tax credit for donations to maternity homes is set to expire June 30, 2020. The tax credit for donations to pregnancy resource centers expires December 31, 2019. The legislation approved by the House would extend the sunset for both credits to 2024.
The bill also increases the maximum amount of each credit that is available annually. Currently, there are $2.5 million in credits available each year for pregnancy resource centers, and $2.5 million in credits each year for maternity homes. The bill approved by the House would increase the cap on each credit to $3.5 million annually. Each credit requires a minimum contribution of $100, of which 50 percent is tax-credit-eligible. Donors can claim up to a $50,000 credit per tax year.
The bill also extends the Champion for Children Tax Credit for child advocacy centers until 2025. Additionally, it reauthorizes the Donated Food Tax Credit until 2026 and expands the credit to include food or cash donated to local soup kitchens or homeless shelters. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
House Sends “Revenge Porn” Bill to Senate (HB 1558)
The Missouri House gave overwhelming bipartisan support to legislation that would criminalize what is often called “revenge porn,” which involves sharing or threatening to share private sexual images of a person without that person’s consent. Such sharing often happens by the uploading of those images to the Internet. The legislation would make such sharing of images a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and would make threatening to share them a felony carrying up to four years in prison.
The bill covers photographs, videos, digital recordings, and other depictions. In addition to creating the crime of “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images,” the bill would allow victims to file civil suits against those accused of the crime. If the bill is signed into law, Missouri would join 38 other states that have outlawed revenge porn. The bill now moves to the Missouri Senate for discussion.
Other Bills Moving to the Senate
HB 1268 would allow the Missouri Dental Board to issue dental faculty permits to individuals who are employed by accredited dental schools, colleges, or programs in Missouri.
HB 1809 would add Franklin County to the compact between Missouri and Illinois creating the Bi-State Development Agency and the Bi-State Metropolitan Development District.
HB 1464 would authorize telephone companies to elect to have their tangible personal property assessed in accordance with a depreciation schedule.
HB 1873 would specify that the court may require any person found guilty of chasing, pursuing, taking, transporting, killing, processing, or disposing of certain wildlife in violation of the Missouri Conservation Commission's rules and regulations to make restitution to the state.
HB 1428 would allow the county commission of non-charter counties to appoint persons to vacated county elected offices.
HB 1896 would adopt the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact in order to regulate the day-to-day practice of telepsychology by psychologists across state boundaries.
HB 1607 would extend from Dec. 31, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2023. The $.50 fee that is collected on the retail sale of a lead-acid battery as well as the fees for any hazardous waste generated.
HB 1928 would establish guidelines for the future regulation of occupations and professions within the State of Missouri.
HB 1945 would change the laws regarding the confiscation of animals. The bill would require a speedy disposition hearing to determine if an owner is liable for animal abuse or neglect and will save money. Often animal owners forfeit their rights to the animals because they cannot pay the bond or the costs associated with the legal challenge.
House Speaker Forms Investigative Committee (HR 5565)
The Missouri House has created a committee that will investigate the charge on which Gov. Eric Greitens has been indicted. This week the members of the House also gave unanimous, bipartisan support to a resolution that outlines the investigative process and the powers the committee will have to conduct the investigation.
Greitens was indicted by a grand jury for felony invasion of privacy. Greitens is accused of taking, without consent, a photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015. House Speaker Todd Richardson and other members of House Leadership announced the formation of the Special Committee on Oversight, which will be charged with conducting the investigation. The committee will begin its work immediately. As the committee investigates, the Speaker made it clear the House will continue its work as normal.
“We are going to continue to move forward with the substantive legislation that we have spent the bulk of this session working on,” said Speaker Richardson, who added that the committee has a big task ahead of it, “but that is not going to deter us or limit our ability to move forward on priorities that the people of Missouri sent us here to do.”
Legislators Participate in Annual STEM Day
Students and education supporters once again made the trip to the State Capitol to observe the state’s annual STEM Day. The day is meant to emphasize the important role STEM education plays in the state’s economy and the opportunities it provides to students. Many of the students in attendance were introduced on the House floor in recognition of their advocacy for STEM education.
Hosted each year by the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Mathematics and Science Coalition, the day is highlighted by various hands-on technology displays and booths that showcase the various school and student science projects and activities. The event also featured an F-18 flight simulator, and saw students compete for the Capitol Cup in the First Lego League Robotics Challenge.
University of Extension-Missouri visited the Capitol City this week to showcase some of the research and service offered by MU Extension. Animal husbandry and disease resistance (such as combating cyst nematodes as shown on the right, the eggs are there, just very small) are just two of the areas where MU is pushing to improve quality and performance in agriculture.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at email@example.com. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.