HB 1094 tax relief is moving in the House
The House moved my tax relief bill, HB 1094, this week. The bill comes in response to issues within the Department of Revenue that have resulted in many Missourians owing more income tax or getting smaller tax refunds this year. The bill allows for a month of interest to be forgiven for late payments, and penalties to be waived for the remainder of this year. To qualify, individual taxpayers must file on or before April 15. The major provisions of the bill are:
—Only individuals, not corporations, qualify.
—A tax return must be filed on time.
—A payment schedule must be filed with the Department of Revenue (DOR), which can be done online.
—Interest for late payments will be waived for one month.
—Penalties will be waived until the end of the year.
—A refund will be available if penalties have already been paid.
—The bill will go into effect after being passed out of the Senate and signed by the Governor.
For months a special House oversight committee has investigated issues within the department. The House Special Committee on Government Oversight found not only that the department had an error in its withholding tables, but also that the department had failed to alert Missourians about how the tax code was changed and what it could mean for them.
The bill would block late payment penalties on tax debt owed to the state by individual taxpayers through the end of this year. It would also waive any interest owed on such debt until May 15. For those who might pay penalties before the bill would become law, it would require that those Missourians receive refunds.
“Missourians are keeping more money in their pockets, so we’ve got to fix this withholding thing but at the end of the day Missourians, as they should, are keeping more of their hard-earned money. That’s what I think people need to realize,” said one supporter of the legislation.
The legislation now requires a final vote in the House before moving to the Senate. The Speaker of the House has said the House Special Committee on Government Oversight will continue to investigate what caused the withholding problems and how the department responded.
HB 575 Goes to Senate with Amendments
The House also sent HB 575 to the Senate. The underlying bill would allow colleges and universities to designate faculty or staff members as campus protection officers. Several amendments were added , one allowing individuals with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on college campuses in Missouri.
The amendment-maker, Jered Taylor from Nixa, responded to detractors saying, “I can’t believe that I’m being lectured on this floor for offering something to protect women, saying that my three daughters would be less safe if they were able to protect themselves in a situation where they’re being raped and possibly murdered. The audacity to tell me or to tell women in this state that they cannot protect themselves in one of those situations is beyond me.”
Supporters also said that allowing students to carry concealed guns would make campuses safer. Taylor remarked that, “When Kansas passed this a few years ago they saw a 60-percent decrease in violent assaults on campus. You know why? It’s because there was a deterrent.”
He added, “This is another gun-free zone where people think that they can go carry out their attack and not be stopped, because it is right now. People can’t defend themselves in these situations, but if we give them that ability … even if the criminal thinks there’s a possibility of that, it is a deterrent immediately.”
Other amendments would create a STEM studies enhancement scholarship program, and bar colleges and universities from requiring students other than first-time freshman to live in campus housing, or pay health center fees if the student has proof of insurance.
Lawmakers Legislation to Legalize Needle Exchange Programs (HB 168)
The Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bill that would legalize programs already operating in the state that give drug abusers clean needles. The bill sponsor stated that the programs fight the spread of intravenous diseases and expose drug users to treatment options. Currently, those running needle exchanges in Missouri could be charged with violating the state’s drug paraphernalia law.
The legislation approved by the House would provide an exemption for needle exchange programs that are registered with the Department of Health and Senior Services. The exemptions would allow such programs to operate legally in Missouri.
The bill is now under consideration in the Missouri Senate.
Status for My Bills
We continue to move my tax penalty relief bill forward (HB 1094) with some minor changes-specification of individual returns and a provision for refunds. Below is a complete list of the bills I have officially filed with a status report in the parentheses:
—HCR 16 – Urges Congress to recognize World War II Ghost Army (heard in Senate committee)
—HB 573 – Title IX proceedings due process requirements (Voted Do Pass out of Administrative Rules)
—HB574 – Companion to HB 573 (referred to Higher Education Committee)
—HB 575- Authorizes Campus Protection Officers (Passed with Amendments, in Senate)
—HB 576 – Campus Free Expression (heard in committee)
—HB 577 – National Motto displays in schools (not referred)
—HB 1093- Expands Dual Credit Fund (committee substitute passed out of Rules, amended onto HB 575)
—HB 1094 – Tax Penalty Relief for 2018 (Perfected and Printed)
I will keep you updated on these bills as we move through the second half of the session.
Other Bills Sent to the Senate
HB 584 would increase specified motor vehicle and trailer registration fees. Fees have not been increased since 1999, and this is hurting local offices which operates with many local expenses. The lack of operating money may result in the closing of several local license bureaus.
HB 400 would expand the Missouri Returning Heroes Act to include combat veterans who served prior to September 11, 2001 and combat veterans who are eligible to register to vote in Missouri, registered to vote in Missouri, or are current Missouri residents. Additionally, this bill would place a cap of 30% on tuition and fees for qualified combat veterans pursuing graduate degrees, but not professional degrees, for a period of 20 years after an honorable discharge.
HB 485 requires the state board of education to modify accreditation standards for special school districts.
HB 559 specifies that no law, ordinance, or rule may be enacted by any village, town, city or county to terminate, ban, or effectively ban, by creating an undue financial hardship, the job of working animals or animal enterprise in commerce.
HB 728 specifies that except if the party in interest is a minor, in any action involving the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 5 or 7 of the Missouri Constitution, such action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. The bill sponsor stated that the bill would require plaintiffs to be named in cases where people want to sue to remove religious symbols because such plaintiffs currently hide behind unknown names. They say the bill would treat claimants the same no matter the viewpoint, which would hopefully reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits.
HB 269 authorizes the Secretary of State to use subpoena power for specified investigations. The bill also requires candidates to pay filing fees directly to the treasurer of the appropriate political party committee whenever a declaration of candidacy for a particular office is required to be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.
HB 501 designates the Missouri "Show Me" tartan, as registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority in Pitlochry, Scotland, as the official tartan of the state of Missouri. The bill sponsor noted that the official tartan is recognized by a majority of the states and Missouri's was created by a Missouri resident based on Missouri symbols and the state flag.
HB 229 establishes a rebuttable presumption that child custody arrangements that award equal parenting time are in the best interest of the child.
HB 346 would allow the Department of Economic Development under the Missouri Works program to offer industrial development authorities, that have entered into a formal "memorandum of understanding" with an entity of the United States Department of Defense, tax credits for a "qualified military project" in an amount equal to the estimated withholding taxes associated with the civilian and military new jobs located at the facility and directly impacted by the project.
HB 65 adds powdered alcohol to the definition of intoxicating liquor used in state liquor control laws. Supporters say the bill will help prevent alcohol abuse and poisoning in children and young adults. This product can be consumed in various ways and is in need of regulation similar to liquid alcohol products. Many other states regulate powdered alcohol in a similar manner.
HB 674 authorizes several cities to levy a transient guest tax upon voter approval.
HB 106 provides that a real estate licensee shall not be liable for the accuracy of any information about the size of a property or improvements on the property, as long as the licensee discloses the source of the information before an offer to purchase is transmitted to the seller, unless the licensee knew the information was false or the licensee acted with reckless disregard as to whether such information was true or false.
HBs 746 & 722 specifies that other persons specially appointed to serve orders of court shall also receive $10 for orders they serve. The additional $10 shall be deposited in the Deputy Sheriff Salary Supplementation Fund.
HB 606 authorizes school boards to contract with municipalities to transport high school children for a primary bus route. Additionally, the bill prohibits districts from the use of self-driving or autonomous school buses for transportation of students.
HB 407 designates Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, also known as the hellbender salamander, snot otter, or lasagna lizard, as the official endangered species of Missouri.
HB 745 requires courts to notify school administrators of any change in a child's custody, where a child is a person under 18 years of age, within one business day of the change, and for the school to acknowledge the change notification within one business day.
HB 372 modifies provisions relating to employment security. A claimant may not be determined ineligible for unemployment benefits because of not actively and earnestly seeking work if the claimant is temporarily unemployed through no fault of his or her own and has a definite recall date. This bill changes the definite recall date from eight to four weeks, which the Director of the Division of Employment Security may extend to eight weeks.
HB 568 authorizes a political subdivision to hold a vote on whether to cover emergency fire and police telecommunicators, jailors, and emergency medical service personnel as public safety personnel members in the Missouri local government employee's retirement system (LAGERS).
HB 112 requires school districts to establish a state-approved gifted program if 3 percent or more of the students are determined to be gifted.
HB 287 defines “electric vehicle charging station” and exempts from the definition of “electrical corporation” municipally owned electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and any person or corporation that is not engaged in the sale of electricity at wholesale or retail, that owns, operates, or manages equipment that supplies electricity exclusively for the service of charging an electric vehicle as that term relates to the Public Service Commission. The bill also specifies that when municipally owned electric utilities or rural electric cooperatives are providing electric service to structures outside their service boundaries, an electric vehicle charging station reasonably close to the structure is considered a contiguous or adjacent addition.
HCR 6 designates Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Memorial Day.
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.