What’s Happening Report: April 22, 2019

Happy Easter! I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about the importance of rules. Our House rules state that a bill has to be assigned to committee 24 hours before the committee can vote on it (although the Speaker can waive this rule). Last week, HJR 48 went through the General Laws committee at 5:30 on Tuesday evening and went to the Rules committee. In the Rules committee (at noon on Wednesday), we were not given notice that the bill had changed in General Laws — what had been (in my opinion) a good bill became a bad bill. This change affected how I voted; I was lucky someone mentioned the change to me in an offhand remark during a conversation.

While I don’t think this was done intentionally to get me to vote the wrong way, it does show the importance of following procedure–especially this late in the game, when bills are moving quickly to get them done before the May 17 deadline.

We are in the last part of session. With only 4 weeks left of session, things are going to get more intense. As of today, 189 bills have been third read and passed by the House. 3 bills have been signed by the Governor. We will be hearing a lot more bills as May 17th approaches.

I have received a number of calls about the MSD Project Clear project from Big Bend to Papin Ave. I am currently investigating what my office can do. If you want to add your voice to the list of people complaining about this project, please e-mail my office or send a letter to me, Sarah Unsicker, Missouri State Capitol Room 135 B-C, 201 W. Capitol Ave., Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Scroll to the bottom for information on a the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration on May 4 and a veteran’s day ceremony for Vietnam veterans this week.
Last Week

The bill on the Pregnancy-Associated Maternal Review Board was heard in the Senate committee on Health and Pensions last week, and also voted out of the House Rules committee! I am very excited to see this bill move, to put this bill in statute to give them transparency and to give the data related to these tragic deaths more protection.

In the House, we third read the Grain Belt Express bill, which removes the state’s power of eminent domain for this project. Now, if we had a good discussion on how eminent domain should be used, I would be in full support. That is a conversation that should be had. This bill was specific to one company, one project. We heard about problems of light pollution from windmills and one supporter even said that coal energy is “clean.” We need to get our heads out of the sand and look for ways to address long-term pollution that accumulates to cause serious harm to our planet.
On that note, the Rules committee also voted out a resolution opposing the Green New Deal.

Speaking of “clean”, the same committee voted on HCS HJR 48, a bill that would allow voters to roll back the Clean amendment to the Missouri Constitution that we all voted on last November.

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 short but busy week in the House. We will be off on Easter Monday.

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

On Tuesday, we will be debating HCS HJR 48, 46 & 47. This bill repeals the provision of Clean Missouri that created a nonpartisan state demographer to draw House and Senate districts. It also bans all lobbyist gifts to legislators. We will also debate HJR 41, limiting the number of legislative districts.

I expect we will also debate Medicaid Work Requirements, which turns a program that is designed to make people healthy so they can be productive into a requirement that people be productive before they can get healthcare.

This week, we are voting on some substantial bills in my committees.

In Children and Families, we will be voting on
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 voting on
SB 87 – Wallingford (related to funding pancreatic cancer research)
SCS SB 174 – Crawford (reducing taxes on interest income)

Ways and Means will be hearing
HB 1133 – Allred INCOME TAX