Around the State
Wednesday, Oct. 9, an informational meeting will be conducted by the University of Missouri Extension Service for potential hemp producers. The session will begin at 6 p.m. at the Concordia Community Center at 802 S. Gordon St.
It is now legal to grow hemp in Missouri for oil and fiber. Both require a state license and are highly regulated. This meeting will help clarify some of the details, legal and production, needed to be successful in this agricultural endeavor.
After an almost full year of being interim, Ken Zeller has been designated as the full-time director in the Missouri Department of Revenue. Zellers replaced former Director Joel Walters after being grilled by the House Oversight Committee. Some of the issues during Walters’ tenure included slow tax refunds, and under collection of sales tax.
Helping Missouri’s Heroes (SB 306)
One piece of legislation that is now law in Missouri is meant to provide a helping hand to veterans who want to further their education. During the 2019 session, the General Assembly approved a bill that expands an existing program known as the Missouri Returning Heroes’ Education Act.
The act has existed since 2008 and has provided valuable tuition assistance to certain combat veterans who attend public institutions of higher education in Missouri. The program as it previously existed provided benefits only to veterans who were residents of Missouri at the time of their enlistment and who served in armed combat after Sept. 11, 2001. The program also had an eligibility limit of 10 years after the veteran’s last discharge.
The changes authorized this year greatly expanded the program to allow more veterans to receive tuition assistance. The program now extends eligibility to any American veteran who has served in a combat zone and who is registered to vote in Missouri, or is a current Missouri resident. The new law also ups the eligibility duration to 20 years after the veteran’s last discharge.
Under the program, eligible veterans have their undergraduate tuition rates capped at $50 per credit hour. The expanded version of the program approved this year now includes tuition assistance for both master’s degree and doctoral level studies. For these graduate level courses, tuition is reduced by 70 percent of the in-state level. The new law also makes it so the cap can be applied before all federal and state aid is applied to the tuition.
Supporters say the expanded program will allow more veterans to pursue graduate degrees at public universities in Missouri. Additionally, the new program will incentivize veterans to move to Missouri to attend public universities.
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.