District 77th Mid-Session Report

Every time I log into my computer in the Capitol, speak at a neighborhood meeting or knock on your door in the city, I am reminded of how honored I am to be your State Representative. I will never forget the feeling of responsibility and joy each of you gave me the day you chose me as your representation in Jefferson City. Since then, I have been working earnestly to enact legislation to decrease crime and develop job opportunities, as  Ranking Minority Member on Workforce Development, Speical Committee on  Litigation Reform and Judiciary Committee. I have also been avatar-with-state-no-backgroundworking in the community to build up non-profit organizations, sign-up youth for neighborhood programs, and be attentive to our senior citizens. You can be sure that your State Representative will continue to work hard on your behalf. Never hesitate to contact my office if you need anything. I am here for you.

For easy online access visit: www.house.mo.gov

 

  • Proposed legislation and hearing schedules
  • Addresses and phone numbers of lawmakers
  • Missouri Constitution and Statutes
  • General information about the legislature

First Act of the 2017 Session, by the numbers:

  • 92 pieces of legislation have been Third Read in the House (including SBs, HCRs)
  • 49 bills have been passed out of the Senate and sent to the House for consideration
  • 2 House Concurrent Resolutions have passed our chamber, awaiting further action
  • 2 House Bills have been Truly Agreed and Finally Passed and Delivered to the Governor (HB 153 (Corlew)- Expert Witness and HB 662 (Rone)- Misuse of Herbicides)
  • 1 Senate Bill has been Truly Agreed and Finally Passed and Signed by the Governor (SB 19 (Brown)- Right-to-Work)
  • 1 HCR with the force and effect of law has been Truly Agreed and Finally Passed and Signed by the Governor (HCR 4 – Bernskoetter – rejecting pay commission report)
  • 18 House measures were withdrawn from consideration, including HB 766 (Lichtenegger) which would have prevented individuals with certain domestic violence charges from lawfully possessing a weapon. That bill was withdrawn following pressure from the gun lobby. Sometime later the Representative filed a measure which would allow perpetrators of domestic violence a 24-hour grace period before being compelled to relinquish a weapon. The Minority Party’s Rep. McCreery called this revised proposal a “countdown to death.”

  * As of March 22, 2017


Marquee bills that have passed out of the Missouri House in round one for the 2017 legislative session:

 

House Seal Color

  • HCB 3 (Fitzpatrick) – Circuit Breaker Tax Credit
    • This legislation repeals the renter’s portion of the property tax credits provided to low-income elderly disabled Missourians to stave off the Governor’s proposed Medicaid cut
    • The majority has characterized this legislation as a necessary cut to fund in-home care for Missourians with disabilities. They further claimed that Democrats support this measure, evidenced by a similar recommendation made by a commission blessed by then-Gov. Nixon. Further, majority members suggested that renters should just not be given a property tax credit because they do not physically pay the property tax on their rental home.
      • This is a false choice, the Commission report cited was from 2010 and certainly not adopted by any members of the Minority, and of course, renters pay the property tax on the homes they inhabit – the cost is included into the agreed upon rent.
      • No matter how you slice this proposal – it is a tax increase on low-income Missourians.
    • On the House floor Reps. Carpenter, Lavender, Quade, and Merideth proposed numerous alternative solutions that did not involve raising taxes on low-income, elderly and disabled renters. Such solutions included: means testing the program, repealing the discount sellers enjoy for timely remitting sales tax payments, ultimately repealing 2015’s SB 19 (changes to the corporate allocation of income which has cost the state far more than the fiscal note indicated), delaying the implementation of 2014’s SB 509 tax cut (from 6% to 5.9%) for one year, and eliminating the portion of SB 509 which allows for a 5% deduction in “business income”.
  • HB 60 (Alferman) – Most lobbyist gift ban
    • This bill is a most lobbyist gift ban – only to “public officials” as defined via 105.470(8) – city councilors and school board members are free to take gifts unencumbered by this proposal.
    • The measure contains loopholes that you could, even after floor amendments, drive World Series and Super Bowl tickets through and is not in the ballpark of what was promised throughout the campaign season.
    • Democrats offered more practical solutions in HB 212 to HB 217, with HB 217 offered as an omnibus anti-corruption package
  • HB 91 (Rehder)- So-Called “Right- to-Work.”
  • This legislation would turn Missouri from a “freedom to bargain” state where employers can negotiate on collective bargaining issues with democratically elected union representatives to a so-called “Right-to-Work” state where unions and employers alike can be criminally punished for negotiating “union security clauses.”
  • Does not contain a grandfather clause, and instead purports to invalidate and nullify existing contracts that contain security clauses
  • While SB 19 (Brown – “right-to-work”) has been truly agreed and finally passed, and signed into law by Gov. Greitens, the Majority has continued to advance the House version of the “right-to-work” legislation. There is a theory that passing two versions of this measure may have an affect on a referendum petition that may be organized to put SB 19 to a vote of the people, or at least used a leverage by the majority in the second half of the legislative session.
  • SB 19 (Brown) – So-called “right-to-work” – Signed by the Governor
    • Same summary as HB 91, though the version that was signed into law (effective in late August) does contain a grandfather clause, and will not invalidate or nullify any existing contracts. However, astutely pointed out by a member of the Minority on the House floor – the legislation does not include in its grandfather clause an ability to “modify” existing contracts without triggering the prohibition on union security clauses.
      • Ex. Current CBA that lasts through 2022 governs the employment relationship with Employer-A. In 2018 (after SB 19 becomes effective), the economy takes a downturn and Employer-A, and the union are forced to modify the terms of their existing contract. If both parties assent to a modification of the contract – the prohibition on union security clauses takes effect.
  • HB 251 (Taylor) Paycheck Deception
  • Specifies that no sum shall be withheld from the earnings of any public employee for payment of dues, agency shop fees, or any other charges paid by public employee members or public employee non-members of public labor organizations except upon the annual written or electronic authorization by the public employee member or the public employees who are nonmembers.
  • HB 153 (Corlew)-  Expert Witness – Delivered to the Governor
    • Changes the standards by which expert testimony is admitted as evidence in Missouri state courts. Missouri’s standard of general admissibility is replaced by an inquiry into whether the proposed expert has specialized knowledge (by education or experience) that will help the trier of fact understand the evidence, and  the testimony is based on sufficient facts; and the product of reliable principles; and  if the expert has reliably applied such principles to the facts of the case.
    • This is standard for admitting evidence in federal proceedings and is generally referred to as the “Daubert” standard, after the Supreme Court case Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993), and also codified in the federal rules of evidence, rules 702 – 704:
    • The legislation expressly excludes some proceedings from this awesome standard: marriage contracts, divorce, adoption and foster care, protective orders, enforcement of support orders, probate, juvenile, and family court.
  • HB 95 (McGaugh)- Collateral Source
    • This legislation modifies and further weakens the collateral source rule to the potential detriment of injured parties seeking to recover for the actual value of their medical treatment. Instead of the jury hearing the value of the medical care, they would only hear the “actual cost.”
    • This change would almost ensure that there was a windfall for the tortfeasor because the injured party would not get the benefit of the value of the medical care, but only the “actual cost” of the care. This creates a disincentive for individuals to carry insurance or ask for a discount on medical care.
  • HB 634 (Roeber)- Charter School Expansion
    • Allows charter schools to enter a school district if a single school building falls below 60% on its annual performance review for two out of three years. Over 400 buildings in the state of Missouri may meet this threshold.
    • This bill goes into effect when the school foundation formula is fully funded. Last year, legislators reduced the amount needed to “fully fund” the formula. There is also no guarantee this money makes its way into the classroom.  This piece is also likely unconstitutional: the Missouri Supreme Court has said it is a violation of the single subject rule to tie the implementation of one piece of legislation to the passage of the second piece of legislation. HB 634 demands the foundation formula be fully funded for implementation, which is found in HB 2.
  • HB 288 (Fitzpatrick) – Ties the maximum amount of unemployment benefits to the statewide unemployment average – reducing the maximum number of weeks from 20 – 13.
  • HB 126 (Vescovo) – Eliminates local control by prohibiting a locality from entering into a project labor agreement.
  • HB 1193/1194 (Chipman)
    • Preempts localities from imposing a minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage and preempts any localities (St. Louis City) from implementing any existing ordinance raising the localities’ minimum wage.
    • This legislation was filed in response to a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision upholding the validity of the St. Louis City ordinance implementing a higher minimum wage for the City.
    • There is an emergency clause on this legislation which most likely does not meet constitutional muster as preempting a locality from raising the minimum wage does not protect the public health, safety, peace and welfare of the citizens of the state of Missouri.
    • Democratic members had many amendments to increase the minimum wage, with Rep. McCreery offering her amendment to raise the minimum wage to $9 in 2018. While Republicans claimed they were interested in increasing the minimum wage, there was little support from the Majority party for Rep. McCreery’s reasonable wage increase.
    • The measure also preempts/nullifies local ordinances which require employers to confer employment benefits more generous than those required by the state government. While this was not discussed at length in the debate on the House side, this implicates local ordinances dealing with employment discrimination.
      • For example, this would bring into question whether the St. Louis County employment protections for LGBT individuals would remain enforceable.

 


Town Hall Meeting on Workforce Development

LOCATION: Julia Davis Branch of St. Louis Public Library
4415 Natural Bridge Ave., St. Louis MO 63115
DATE: 04/22/2017
TIME: 12:00 PM
We will have representatives from:
Ferguson 1000
Sparkman Corporation
Connections to Success
St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment and More

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s