Missouri’s employment levels have been on an upward trend. Missouri saw an increase of 8,800 jobs between May and July. The state has also seen an increase of 34,700 jobs since July 2017. Health care and social assistance employment saw an increase of 10,900 jobs. Durable goods manufacturing added 5,600 jobs. Arts, entertainment and recreation; retail trade; and administrative, support, and waste management services each added between 3,500 and 4,000 jobs over the year.
In other news, Missouri Governor Mike Parson has mobilized state resources to help Missourians battling drought conditions throughout the state. Parson recently announced both a program to provide water to family farms and a lottery for farmers to obtain adequate livestock feed. Further information, along with maps showing locations for the pumping of water and for haying, are available at https://dnr.mo.gov/droughtresources.htm. Missourians can also visit the Department of Natural Resources drought website for information about drought conditions, agriculture and drinking water assistance, and resources at https://dnr.mo.gov/drought.htm.
New Government Transparency Website Goes Live
A new transparency website launched by the Missouri State Treasurer will give Missourians access to important information about government finances. The treasurer’s office says the new website, ShowMeCheckbook.mo.gov, is one of the most comprehensive state government financial data portals in the country.
The website was launched to help provide Missourians with access to state financial data that has been difficult to find and analyze in the past. In April of last year the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave Missouri a D+ grade for financial transparency. Show-Me Checkbook is meant to be an important step in increasing transparency. According to PIRG, websites like Show-Me Checkbook can result in significant cost-savings for states that launch them. Texas saved an estimated $163 million as a result of a similar project, and North Carolina credits their website with leading to a comprehensive reform of their state purchasing laws. Treasurer Schmitt is encouraging citizen watchdogs who find interesting or concerning data trends through Show-Me Checkbook to contact his office through the submission link that appears on the bottom of each page of the website.
Finally, as promised here are some more bill summaries from the 2018 session (new laws became effective Tuesday, Aug. 28).
2018 Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Bills
SB 660 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies the law relating to mental health
Current law permits the Department of Social Services to enter into contracts with an entity for the provision of the medical insurance information of certain persons applying for or receiving MO HealthNet benefits. Such information is limited to those insurance benefits that could have been claimed and paid by an insurance policy or are otherwise covered by MO HealthNet. Under this act, the Department of Mental Health may enter into such contracts for the medical insurance information of persons receiving Department of Mental Health services.
SB 683 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies provisions relating to the transportation of construction cranes
This act provides that the Highways and Transportation Commission shall issue single-use special permits for or upon request of the equipment owner annual permits for the transportation of cranes. The Commission shall also set parameters for the transportation of cranes under this act.
SB 687 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies provisions relating to student transportation
Currently, school districts are required to allocate 1 percent of moneys received under the school foundation formula to the professional development committee of the district. Under this act, school districts may, by majority vote of the board, allocate less than 1 percent but no less than 0.5 percent when such district is appropriated less than 25 percent of the allowable costs of providing pupil transportation under the school foundation formula. A school district may appropriate money in such manner until the end of fiscal year 2024.
SB 705 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies provisions relating to rate adjustments outside of general rate proceedings for certain public utilities
This act allows water corporations with more than 8,000 customers to make an application to the Public Service Commission to approve rate schedules outside of a general rate proceeding to ensure that revenues billed for services equal the revenue requirement for such services due to changes in customer usage.
SB 707 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to vehicle sales
The act increases, from $25,000 to $50,000, the bond required for licensure as a motor vehicle dealer. This act also requires motor vehicle dealer license applicants to submit their regular business hours, and a phone number and email address where the applicant can be contacted during regular business hours.
SB 708 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to motor vehicle financial responsibility
This act increases, from $10,000 to $25,000, the minimum motor vehicle liability coverage a person must carry for others’ property when operating a motor vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law. The act similarly amends a statute requiring minimum coverage limits for state-controlled motor vehicles, aircraft, and marine vessels.
SB 718 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to health care
The act designates the month of November as Diabetes Awareness Month.
SB 743 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education
Currently, public schools are required to be in session for a minimum of 174 days and 1,044 hours a year. Beginning in the 2019- 2020 school year, this act changes the requirement to a minimum of 1,044 hours of actual pupil attendance with no minimum number of required school days except for kindergarten pupils who shall be provided a minimum of 522 hours of actual pupil attendance with no minimum number of days.
SB 768 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies several provisions relating to the taxation of telecommunications companies
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, this act allows telephone companies to make a one-time election of whether to have their property assessed in the same manner as railroads, as in current law, or in the same manner as railroads for property consisting of land and buildings and under a depreciation schedule for all other forms of property, as described in the act.
SB 769 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to financial transactions by public entities
Under current law, the State Treasurer and the Treasurer of the City of St. Louis are limited in the types of securities they may require as collateral from banks or financial institutions selected and approved for the safekeeping and payment of deposits. This act adds brokered or negotiable certificates of deposit that are fully insured by the FDIC or the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund to the collateral list.
SB 773 (Signed by Governor: 7/5/18) – Modifies provisions relating to taxation
This act extends the date by which a local taxing jurisdiction shall place a question on the ballot regarding the repeal of a local
sales tax on certain motor vehicles purchased from out-of-state dealers from November 2018 to November 2022.
SB 775 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Extends the sunset on certain healthcare provider reimbursement allowance taxes and modifies the hospital reimbursement allowance tax
This act extends the sunsets from Sept. 30, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, for the Ground Ambulance, Nursing Facility, Medicaid Managed Care Organization, Hospital, Pharmacy, and Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled Reimbursement Allowance Taxes.
SB 782 (Signed by Governor: 6/22/18) – Modifies provisions relating to the Department of Natural Resources
This act requires the Division of State Parks within the Department of Natural Resources to maintain the fence coinciding with the boundary between individual landowner property and the historic Missouri Rock Island railroad corridor, with costs being paid by the State Park Earnings Fund. Nothing in this act shall be construed to require an individual landowner to locate a fence on his or her own property.
SB 793 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies provisions relating to court proceedings
Under current law, children who are 17 years of age are prosecuted for criminal offenses in courts of general jurisdiction. This act provides that, unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation, children who are 17 years of age must be prosecuted in the juvenile court system. The expanded service of the juvenile court system shall not be effective until sufficient funds are appropriated.
SB 800 (Signed by Governor: 6/1/18) – Modifies provisions relating to juvenile court proceedings
Under current law, any order or judgment entered by a court concerning child protection takes precedence over any previous court order concerning the status or custody of a child for as long as the new court order remains in effect. This act adds orders of guardianships to the list of prior orders concerning the status or custody of a child over which a new court order shall take precedence.
Travel Missouri This Summer: Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.