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End of the 2012 Legislative Session: Successes and FailuresPosted Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 11:49 AM
As I mentioned in my most recent column, the Second Regular Session of the 96th General Assembly has come and gone. Here are some of the measures that the Legislature sent to the governor, some we did not, and some the governor said "no" to.
BUDGET -- Missouri's balanced $24 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which will begin on July 1, 2012. Maintains level funding for Missouri's elementary and secondary schools, increases funding for higher education, and makes no changes to aid to the blind as previously proposed. (HB 2001-2013)
BILLBOARDS -- Establishes procedure for resetting billboards during periods of highway construction, particularly along Interstate 70. (SB 607 - Stouffer)
CELLPHONES -- Changes the laws regarding the state's No-Call List by allowing a person to place his or her cell phone number on the list and prohibiting telemarketers from sending specified communications. (HB 1549)
CHARTER SCHOOLS -- Modifies provisions relating to charter schools including additional accountability and also expansion into failing districts throughout the state or accredited districts when sponsored by the local school board. (SB 576 - Stouffer)
CORRECTIONS -- Establishes the Sentencing and Corrections Oversight Commission and changes the laws regarding criminal offenders under the supervision of the Missouri Department of Corrections. (HB 1525)
EMPLOYEES -- Changes the laws regarding workers' compensation.
HEALTH CARE -- Provides protection for the religious beliefs as to the imposition of certain health care services such as abortion, contraception, or sterilization. (SB 749)
HEALTH CARE REFORM -- Prohibits the establishment and operation of health insurance exchanges in Missouri unless certain criteria are met. (SB 464)
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS -- Reaffirms economic development projects of mutual benefit between the United States and Israel. (HCR 36 - Stouffer)
JUDGES -- Modifies the composition of Appellate Judicial Commission and number of nominees for vacancies; also known as "court reform." (SJR 51)
RESIDENTIAL CARE -- Changes the laws regarding the Residential Treatment Agency Tax Credit Program and establishes the Developmental Disability Care Provider Tax Credit Program. (HB 1172 - Stouffer)
TRANSPORTATION -- Modifies law with respect to motor vehicles and outboard motor titles. Includes exclusion of University of Kansas from having specialty Missouri license plates. (SB 480 - Stouffer)
MOTOR CARRIERS -- Changes the laws regarding motor carriers and the transportation of household goods and requires a municipality to allow commercial vehicles access to any road in the state highway system. (HB 1402 - Stouffer)
EXPANDING I-70 -- Establishes the Joint Interim Committee on Transportation Needs to study the transportation infrastructure needs of Missouri. (SCR 26 - Stouffer)
VETERANS' HOMES -- Changes the laws regarding the use of gaming and tobacco settlement money to help fund veterans' homes. (HB 1731)
EDUCATION -- Modifies the elementary and secondary education funding formula, including appropriations to "hold harmless" schools. (SB 454)
HIGHER EDUCATION -- Modifies provisions relating to higher education, including more coordination between Missouri's colleges and universities. (SB 455)
REDISTRICTING -- Requires all meetings of apportionment commissions to be conducted in public and prohibits commission members from serving in the General Assembly for six years after service on commission. (SJR 37)
SEX ABUSE -- Modifies provisions of mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse. (SB 457)
TAX CREDITS -- Subjects all state tax credits to appropriation. (SB 436)
TOLL ROADS -- Authorizes the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to form a Public-Private Partnership by contract with private partners to finance, develop, and operate Interstate 70 as a toll facility. (SB 752)
VOTER IDENTIFICATION -- Establishes photo identification requirements for voting. (SB 442)
WORKPLACE REFORMS -- Eases Missouri businesses' ability to hire and fire employees. The legislation was one of the two top priorities of the General Assembly to help Missouri employers return more jobs to the state, but the legislation was opposed by trial lawyers and labor unions. Vetoed by the governor. (HB 1219)
You can also see this list by visiting my Missouri Senate webpage: www.senate.mo.gov/stouffer.
The Legislature will be back in Jefferson City for its annual veto session, scheduled for September. Until then, we will see you at all of the fairs and festivals that are coming up. I look forward to visiting with you.
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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.
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