What’s Happening Report: April 15, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about autonomous vehicles. There are six levels of autonomy–from a 1963 Chevy to fully automated/self-driving cars. Right now we are at Level 2 of autonomy–the vehicle can, at times, control both the direction and speed, but it needs a human to pay attention at all times.

An amendment was passed in the House last week to ban “autonomous and self-driving” school buses. We all want an adult on the bus at all times with a student. We want buses that are safe. But we also want safety features on buses like anti-lock brakes and automatic braking technology. We are years–probably decades–away from level 5 autonomous vehicles, but current safety features are a level of autonomy.

Last week I went to the second task force meeting on The Future of the Workforce for People with Disabilities. We discussed things like self-driving cars and other technologies that can either enable or hinder people with disabilities, along with apprenticeships and the gig economy. It was a very informative two-day meeting with people from around the country.

We are in the last part of session. With only 5 weeks left of session, things are going to get more intense. As of today, 164 bills have been third read and passed by the House. We will be hearing a lot more bills as May 17th approaches.

Scroll to the bottom for information on a a veteran’s day ceremony for Vietnam veterans.
Last Week

Last week we voted out HB 575, which is a bad bill for higher education. The bill allows schools to designate professors and staff as “campus protection officers” to carry a weapon on university property. There were several amendments added on to the bill, including an amendment that does not allow public universities to require students live in the dorm beyond their first year, and one that allows students to opt out of using the campus health plans. But the most dangerous amendment to this bill, and the one that is receiving the most attention, is an amendment to require schools allow anyone who has a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm on campus.

We also heard HB 1094, which removes the penalty for paying income taxes late this year. Given the recent changes to the tax tables and tax rates, this is a good bill that will help people who have surprise tax bills. However, it won’t pass the House before April 15, and since it still has to go through the Senate to pass, it will be too late to make much difference.

You can see the growing list of bills that have been perfected (final version is complete and ready to vote on) and third read (bills we have voted on) on the House webpage under “Legislation”.

While it is interesting to see what we have been doing, a better way to be involved in what is coming up is to track the upcoming hearings (to see what committees are working on) and Calendar (to see what is coming to the floor).

Democrats and Republicans are giving press conferences on a variety of policy topics; you can see all press conferences on the MOHOUSECOMM Youtube Page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6ymiL-IlKewSkyoocKcuw
This Week
This will be a busy week in the House.

We are still scheduled to be debating and voting on HB 581, a charter schools expansion bill.

My bill establishing a maternal mortality review committee, HB 664, was passed out of committee unanimously last week and will be voted in Rules on Monday.

This week, we are voting on some substantial bills in my committees.
In Children and Families, we will be voting on

SS SCS SB 230 – Crawford

Children and Families will be hearing
SCS SB 101 – Riddle (establishing a statewide hearing aid distribution program)
SCS SB 83 – Cunningham (related to parents relocating in a child custody proceeding)

Ways and Means will be hearing
SB 87 – Wallingford (related to funding pancreatic cancer research)
SCS SB 174 – Crawford (reducing taxes on interest income)