As you read this, the month of April has passed, leaving only two weeks of regular session. The two weeks remaining will be, at times, chaotic but hopefully there will be quality legislation passed onto the Governor. For a complete list, I encourage everyone to research each bill for more information by going to house.mo.gov and click on Legislation. I encourage you to sign up to receive my full Capitol Report by emailing me at Tim.Taylor@house.mo.gov.
House Approves Funding Bills for Capital Improvement Projects (HB 17, HB 18, and HB 19)
The members of the Missouri House took time this week to approve three bills that will provide vital funding to capital improvement projects around the state. The nearly $773 million in funding contained in the three bills would allow for new construction and repair work at state parks, four-year universities, community colleges, and state-owned facilities.
HB 17 reappropriates $229.7 million for capital improvement projects and maintenance and repair projects that span multiple budget cycles and fiscal years.
HB 18 authorizes $312 million of maintenance and repair spending for state-owned facilities. HB 19 allocates $230.6 million to be used for capital improvement projects in all parts of the state.
HB 839 provides that, in addition to current requirements for licensure, peace officers must submit to being fingerprinted on or before January 1, 2022, for the purposes of a criminal history background check and enrollment in the state and federal Rap Back Program. Additionally, any time a peace officer is commissioned with a different law enforcement agency he or she must submit to being fingerprinted.
HB 381 requires all non-charter counties, by the first Monday in March, to prepare and publish in a qualified newspaper a financial statement for the previous year. The financial statement shall include the name, office, and current gross annual salary of each elected or appointed county official whose salary is set by the County Salary Commission. The salary of officials is a common question asked by citizens and its publication will increase transparency.
Bills Sent to Conference
HB 15 is a supplemental appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2021. The bill appropriates federal funds for a variety of needs across the state. The two chambers will now try to reach a compromise on the bill in a conference committee.
HBs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 – House members have asked the Senate for a conference on the majority of the appropriations bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2022 State Operating Budget. The spending plan approved by the House appropriates $32 billion in funding. The Senate version of the budget includes $35.1 billion in spending. The two chambers have until May 7 to agree to the final version of the budget.
Senate Bills Approved
SB 37 repeals provisions of law that give the Department of Agriculture oversight over standards relating to anhydrous ammonia and authorizes the Air Conservation Commission to adopt, promulgate, amend, and repeal rules and regulations for covered processes at agricultural stationary sources that use, store, or sell anhydrous ammonia, and regulations necessary to implement and enforce the risk management plans under the federal Clean Air Act. Supporters say the bill would reduce regulations on retailers of anhydrous ammonia by consolidating all regulations within the Department of Natural Resources, the agency with expertise to implement the new program. The House added several amendments to the bill that would authorize a tax credit for the sale of biodiesel fuel, extend the sunset for the Wood Energy Producer Tax Credit, the Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit, and the Rolling Stock Tax Credit, modify the Family Farm Livestock Program, and extend a pilot program that allows recipients to use SNAP funds at local farmers’ markets. The bill now heads back to the Senate for acceptance or changes.
REAL ID Deadline Extended
Missourians with plans to fly later this year received good news this week as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the deadline for obtaining a REAL ID-compliant identification card. Missourians were facing a deadline of Oct. 1 of this year, but the department announced this week the deadline has been pushed to May 3, 2023.
Beginning May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.
DHS said the extension was granted because the COVID-19 pandemic has “significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing still operating at limited capacity.”
Missouri Department of Revenue will continue with efforts to inform Missourians about REAL ID.
Utility Assistance Program Expanded to Help Missourians Pay Energy Bills
Missourians in need of financial assistance to pay their heating bills received good news recently. Gov. Mike Parson announced the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance
Program (LIHEAP) Energy Assistance (EA) Program is extending one-time primary heating bill payments through May 31, 2021.
Eligibility for the program is also expanding. The program has been available to Missouri families with incomes up to 135 percent of the federal poverty level. It will now include Missouri households with an income of up to 60 percent of the State Median Income. The change will allow a family of four with an income of up to $51,021 to receive benefits. Previously, the income limit for a family of four was $35,364.
Missourians interested in learning more about the program can visit https://mydss.mo.gov/energy-assistance or call 1-855-373-4636.
It is my honor to serve the constituents of District 48. If you ever have questions, concerns, or input, please feel free to contact me at any time at 573-751-0169 or you can reach my Legislator Assistant, June, at June.Cardwell@house.mo.gov.