The Missouri Legislature’s regular session has come to a close and so has the hustle and bustle over the past five months in Jefferson City. Lawmakers passed 102 pieces of legislation this session and the fate of the proposals lies in the hands of Republican Governor Mike Parson.
Here is a list of the top measures passed this session:
House Bill 192 would reduce the number of offenders being locked up in local jails and state prisons. The proposal would scrap mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent crimes and require the Missouri parole board to evaluate those currently serving mandatory minimums to decide if they should be released. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot, R-Chesterfield, would block people from getting thrown back in jail for not paying for their previous jail bills.
Senate Bill 391 would ban Missouri counties from enforcing stricter local health regulations than the state for large animal feed lots. Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, sponsored the measure for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, otherwise known as CAFOs. The proposal would bar counties from limiting where CAFOs can be built and adopting tougher environmental regulations.
After shutting down Senate work for 26 hours this week, the Missouri Senate Conservative Caucus budged and let the chamber pass Senate Bill 68 – legislation largely inspired by General Motors. The compromise reached on the incentive package championed by fellow Republican Governor Mike Parson and Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, is meant to woo GM for a potential expansion in Wentzville. The plan would give $50 million in tax credits to automakers that invest at least $750 million in plant improvements. It would also provide tax credits earlier in a business expansion and financial aid for people seeking high demand jobs.
House Bill 126 would ban doctors from giving women abortions if they are eight weeks into their pregnancy. Physicians who violate the ban would face 5 to 15 years in prison. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, would also prohibit physicians from providing an abortion if the baby would have Down syndrome and abortions sought because of the sex or race of the child. It does not have exemptions for victims of human trafficking, rape or incest. The measure would also require both parents to be told if a minor child wants an abortion.
On the final day of the session, the House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 14, which is designed to pay for the repairs of 215 Missouri bridges. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, lets the Highways and Transportation Commission issue $301 million in bonds and pay the total amount back within seven years. The proposal would use about $50 million in general state revenue annually for seven years with an additional $35 million for a cost-share program for local infrastructure upgrades. The loan will amount to about $22.6 million in interest. Under the plan, the state would only be allowed to issue the bonds if Missouri gets a federal infrastructure grant.
Senate Bill 7 would shut down lawsuits with out-of-state defendants from filing court cases in St. Louis. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, would also add restrictions on plaintiffs who attempt to join together in the same court case.
Senate Bill 1 would expand some nonviolent offenses to a list of possible crimes that could be erased from a person’s criminal record. Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Kansas City, is the sponsor of the legislation that would add property damage, fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, and stealing to the list crimes that could be deleted.
House Bill 499 aims to keep struggling state license offices open. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, would boost fees by about $2.50 to $3, depending on the type of service. The fee increases would be for vehicle licenses, operators’ licenses and vehicle title transfers, which have not been raised since 1999. The 174 license offices employ about 1,700 Missourians.
Senate Bill 336 would fix a loophole in state law that allows in-home daycare providers to care for four children but watch an unlimited number of relatives. Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, has championed the legislation for 10 years. “Nathan’s Law” would limit the number of children to six with no more than three can be under the age of 2. Violators would face a misdemeanor and potential fines.
The Missouri Legislature has given its stamp of approval to a $29.7 billion state budget for the fiscal year beginning in July. The financial outline includes:
*$50 million in general revenue for a $301 million bond for bridge repairs and another $35 million for a cost-share program with local municipalities to fund road repairs.
*A 3% pay raise for state employees and another 1% salary boost for Department of Corrections workers
*$3.55 billion to fully fund the formula used to finance Missouri’s K-12 public schools – an increase of about $60 million from the current state budget year.
*$108 million to fund K-12 public school bus transportation costs – a $5 million increase from the current fiscal year.
*Core funding increased for all of Missouri’s public universities by $1 million with some, including Missouri State University, receiving as much as a $10 million boost. State Technical College received a $500,000 core increase and $500,000 for deferred maintenance.
*Prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition
*$5 million for alternatives to jail program for pre-trail electronic ankle bracelets
*$5 million for rural broadband grants
*$8 million in flood recovery aid
*1.5% rate increases to Medicaid providers
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