Capitol Report: April 2, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I would make sure you got a personal invitation to the town hall that I am co-hosting next Saturday, April 7 at 10 am at South County Tech High School. I will be hosting it along with Reps. Doug Beck, Deb Lavender and Bob Burns. There will also be a tour of the high school, and there will be food provided. I hope you can come!

I would also ask you when you plan to vote on Tuesday. There are some excellent candidates in the upcoming elections, and I wish them luck.

I had a relaxing spring break. I spent time with my family, did some cooking, and caught up on sleep. I also had a chance to ride along on a Meals on Wheels delivery route, shared lunch with some lovely ladies at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, and went to the grand opening of Bloom, a social enterprise coffee shop that helps people with disabilities gain skills with the goal of community employment.

We returned to a very busy week this past week. The House debated and passed the budget bills, we had committee hearings and worked on other bills. As of today, seven bills have made it to the Governor’s desk this session.

My survey is available, I hope every constituent uses this opportunity to share their views with me!

In this issue:

  • Budget Update
  • House Happenings
  • Governor Update
  • Capitol Construction
  • In the Community
  • Announcements
  • Events

Budget Update

All 13 budget bills were heard and voted on this past week. They now move to the Senate. Here are a few highlights:

The school Foundation Formula is fully funded. However, school transportation is not fully funded. The Public Placement Fund stayed steady at $5 million in lottery funds. If we are serious about helping foster children, the state should not expect local taxpayers to pick up the bill for their education.

Higher Education cuts were restored from the 10% cut proposed in the Governor’s initial budget.

Money was restored for weatherization projects for low-income housing. However, the House voted not to restore funding for nursing facility care; not to fund Area Health Education Centers; and not to change the Budget bills to allow for a Medicaid expansion.

The Department of Health and Senior Services budget was cut by about $1 million and 10 employees. This was in response to DHSS not providing information about how many of its 40 employees tested positive for antibodies of the bourbon virus. The public health lab was moved to the Department of Public Safety.

House Happenings

We had a marathon week in the Capitol, with some late nights and long sessions. In addition to the budget, we gave initial approval to a number of bills, including:

  • A bill (HB 1667) that establishes a presumption in law that 50/50 parenting time is in the best interest of the child. Family Law attorneys I spoke with disagree with this bill because courts are already starting with the presumption of 50/50 parenting time and this change will make it harder to prove cases where one parent should not have equal parenting time.
  • A bill (HB 2216) that allows wells for drinking water in cities without allowing cities to regulate those wells. (Can you say “groundwater contamination”?) This bill has passed the House and moved to the Senate.

I mentioned care for foster children earlier; the Children and Families committee voted out HCB 12. I had hoped this would be a good bill, but it contains parts that are unconstitutional. We are working to find a good fix for this.

As of this writing, the Missouri House has taken votes on 178 bills.

You can see a full listing of House actions by date.

The House Rules Committee has voted out a charter school bill, HB 2247. This bill would allow a charter school to open in any school district in Missouri, without increasing the accountability measures for charter schools. charter schools are privately-run schools that are publicly funded.

See what’s scheduled on the House floor.

View upcoming committee hearings. After bills go through committee, they go to a Rules committee (there are 2) to get another look before they go to the Floor.

Governor Update

I, along with many of you, am disgusted by the governor’s scandals. In the House, we have the power to present Articles of Impeachment.

The process toward impeachment has begun. Below is an infographic outlining the Constitutional steps for impeachment in Missouri. This week, the House investigation continued. It is scheduled to be complete by April 9.

Capitol Construction

The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. The streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. In case you’re wondering what it will look like, here is an artist rendering. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

In the Community

This week, we had a celebration of Vietnam veterans in the Capitol. It was a great day to honor veterans. If you or a loved one served in the Vietnam war, please contact my office about being honored next year.

I am currently scheduling meetings in June to talk with constituents about the voting process and how to be involved with your government. If you would like to schedule a time for me to meet with you and your neighbors, please let me know by responding to this e-mail!

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job! I am busy planning town halls, including a large one with Reps. Beck, Lavender and Burns, at South County Tech High School, 12721 W Watson Rd., on April 7 from 10-12. Please come!

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

 


 

Committees

The committees I am on are:

Announcements

April Elections

Candidates have filed to run in the April general election.
The polls will be open 6AM-7PM on Election Day, April 3, 2018.

Crestwood

  • Aldermanic Seat (4 seats)

Marlborough

  • Board of Trustees seat (2 seats).

Shrewsbury

  • Mayor
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward I
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward II
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward III

Webster Groves

  • Mayor
  • City Council (3 seats)
  • League of Women Voters will be holding a candidate forum on March 13 at 7:00 pm at the Webster Groves Rec Center (33 E Glendale)

There will not be an April election in the wards I represent in St. Louis City (16 and 23).

 

Donate Blood!

The Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donations. Platelet and type O negative and B negative blood donations – in particular – are critically needed right now. Hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives.

Eligible individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

Legal Help

The Missouri Bar has launched a new website, https://missouri.freelegalanswers.org/. This website will provide some legal answers for low-income people from trained lawyers, and also has resources for other legal assistance for people who need it. It is a resource for people who need legal help but cannot afford it.

Events

I will share events here that I am asked to share with my constituents.

  • Town Hall with Reps. Sarah Unsicker, Doug Beck, Bob Burns and Deb Lavender on Saturday, April 7 from 10-12 at South County Tech High School, 12721 W Watson Rd.