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2016 Legislative Session Comes to a Close

 

 

Productive 2016 Legislative Session Comes to a Close

After more than four months of hard work, late nights and lengthy discussions, the Missouri House of Representatives concluded the 2016 legislative session with a long list of accomplishments. The session began with a focus on substantive ethics reform, and the legislature pushed several measures across the legislative finish line that will help to improve the culture at the State Capitol. The House and Senate also worked together to approve a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes a record investment in K-12 education, significantly boosts funding for Missouri’s colleges and universities, and provides new spending to help improve and repair the state’s transportation infrastructure.

 

In addition to ethics reform and the state spending plan, the legislature moved to protect the integrity of the elections process by implementing a system of voter identification, and approved legislation to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in the state’s welfare programs. Lawmakers also adopted several economic development measures to reduce bureaucratic red tape for Missouri’s small businesses, and invest in Missouri’s system of ports. Additionally, the legislature passed bills addressing issues ranging from suicide prevention to CPR instruction to tax relief for active duty members of the military.

 

With the completion of the regular session, the many bills passed by the General Assembly now head to the governor for his consideration. Legislators will next return to the State Capitol in September for the annual Veto Session when they will have the opportunity to consider overriding any vetoes made by the governor.

I've listed several below but will send out an "End of Session" report that you will receive via mail.  Too many to list in this report!

 

Strengthening Second Amendment Rights (SB 656)

The Missouri General Assembly advanced legislation this session to strengthen the gun rights of law-abiding Missourians. The bill will allow Missourians to carry a concealed weapon without the need for a permit. Commonly referred to as constitutional carry, the bill would allow any person to carry a concealed firearm anywhere that isn’t expressly prohibited by law. The bill is meant to build on the constitutional change made by Missouri citizens in 2014 that allows Missourians the right to permit-less carry.

 

The bill also ensures that individuals who do want to obtain a five-year concealed carry permit will not be charged a fee in excess of $100. The bill specifically prohibits additional fees that may be charged, including any fee for fingerprinting or criminal background check. Additionally, the bill will allow Missouri citizens to obtain 10-year, 25-year, or lifetime permits for $200, $250, and $500 respectively.

 

The legislation also contains a provision commonly referred to as “Stand Your Ground” law. The measure removes the requirement that a person who is any place they are legally allowed to be can use force without retreating first. The bill also expands the state’s castle doctrine law. Current statute allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves and their property against intruders. The bill approved by lawmakers will extend the protection against lawsuits to house guests who use deadly force. 

 Famous end of session paper toss!  2016

 

This is the famous end of session paper toss!  I didn't get to participate this year, as I had to leave a couple hours early due to family duties.  Fun photo showing the beauty of the House chamber and the end of the legislative session.

 

Ethics Reform - Changing the Culture in Jefferson City

  • HB 1979 – Revolving Door Ban.  Requires a waiting period for elected officials seeking to become lobbyists after leaving office.
  • HB 1983 – Ban on Elected Paid Political Consultants. Prevents elected officials from working as paid political consultants.
  • HB 2203 – Limits the investment of campaign funds and prohibits anyone from working as a lobbyist while they have an active campaign account.

 

Voter ID (HB 1631 and HJR 53)

 

The House and Senate reached final agreement on two measures designed to require a valid form of photo identification in order to vote. One is a proposed constitutional amendment that will go on the November ballot for voter approval. The other is a statutory change that is now on the governor’s desk for his consideration.

 

HJR 53 will allow voters to decide if the Missouri Constitution should be changed to allow a system of voter identification. If approved by voters, HB 1631 would then implement the system of voter identification. The bill would require voters to present a specified form of identification in order to vote in a public election. Valid forms of identification would include photo IDs issued by the state, the federal government or the military. The bill also would require the state to pay for individuals to obtain a valid ID if they do not have one, or to obtain documents necessary for an ID. Additionally, the final version of the HB 1631 contains a provision that would allow a voter without a valid photo ID to vote with a regular ballot by showing another form of identification.

Big Government Get Off My Back Act (HB 1870)

The General Assembly approved legislation meant to cut the bureaucratic red tape that too often stifles the growth of small businesses in Missouri. The bill revives the Big Government Get Off My Back Act for tax years 2016 through 2021.

 

The act originally ran from 2009 to 2014 and was instrumental in prohibiting new rules and regulations on small businesses, as well as unnecessary fee increases. The act also gives a $10,000 tax deduction for any small business, with 50 employees or less, that hires additional employees and pays them at least the average county wage. A business can claim a $20,000 deduction if it also pays for at least half of its employees’ health insurance premiums.

 

In its final year in 2014, the act provided tax relief to 196 small businesses throughout Missouri. Supporters hope to provide assistance to even more businesses by reviving the program.

Welfare Reform (SB 607)

As you know welfare reform is one of the things in government that I'm quite passionate about.  I feel we must continually work on this program to ensure that we are helping those who truly need it, but by helping I mean to get to a point of standing on your own two feet through education and job training.  Simple hand-outs only prevent recipients from being able to see and obtain their true potential.  Over the years government has actually hurt people with the way they have tried to help.  

Legislation is now on its way to the governor’s desk to allow the state to more efficiently and proficiently verify applicants and recipients of welfare services. The bill will allow the Missouri Department of Social Services to hire an outside vendor to conduct the verification process for applicants for the state’s various welfare programs such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program, temporary assistance for needy families, child care assistance, and MO HealthNet. The bill is meant to help the department ensure accuracy in the welfare rolls, which is a process it has admittedly fallen behind in performing. The bill has the added benefit of possibly saving the state more than $20 million over the next three years by eliminating waste and fraud from the system.

 

The legislation also creates the Joint Committee on Public Assistance to study, monitor, and review the efficacy of Missouri’s public assistance programs. The committee will also determine the level and adequacy of resources needed for the state’s programs, and develop recommendations on the public assistance programs and on promoting independence from safety net programs.

 

 

Suffering Some Set-Backs

Two of the pieces of legislation that I sponsored, and you heard the most about, were Paycheck Protection and The Narcotics Control Act.  Both died the second to the last day of session.

Paycheck Protection was veto'd by the Governor and returned for an in-session over-ride.  This bill is vehemently opposed by the unions as it would make the union bosses work to provide a service to their members.  The House successfully completed the over-ride with no room to spare.  The Senate went to it Wednesday night and after a few hours voted around 12:30 am and came up one vote short of the number needed.  

We will continue to work to revamp Missouri's antiquated labor laws.  We lost this battle, but it is too important to give-up on.  Unions continue to shrink in Missouri and they don't seem to understand when you do the same thing over and over you cannot expect different results.  In the meantime our factories will continue to close and our jobs will continue to go to states with better labor laws.  What you can do right now is help me work to get a governor that will sign labor law reform bills.  An over-ride isn't necessary when you have a governor that will work with the legislature and pass laws that increase business in the state - union and non-union jobs.  We need them all.  Right now we get neither.

The Narcotics Control Act as you know would implement a prescription monitoring program in Missouri as in all the other states.  Right now Missouri medical professionals cannot see what medications another doctor has their patient taking.  We have forced our doctors to be investigators, therefore those with chronic pain have a harder time obtaining their medication and those with addictions are not noticed until social services, law enforcement or desperate family members get involved. I was very hopeful this would be the session that we would get this life-saving piece of legislation over the finish line.  I'm so very disappointed that is not the case.  However, giving up is not within me.  

I am so pleased that St. Louis County has passed an ordinance to have a prescription drug monitoring program within their county and other surrounding counties are working to join in.  We will have prescription drug monitoring programs in Missouri.     

 

 

One thing is always certain, God's love for us.  He knows our hearts and is always present.  With The Narcotics Control Act dying on Thursday, and Paycheck Protection, I woke up Friday morning with a heavy heart.

However, it was Kayden's first time to come to the Capitol!  He has waited patiently for years now to see where I worked.  In this photo Kayden is standing with me during our opening prayer.  He was a bit overwhelmed at first but it certainly made my heart smile to have him next to me.

 

Thank you for allowing me to represent you.  Always know I don't take it lightly and I put my whole heart into it.      

Please share with your friends and encourage them to sign up for our reports.  Stop by or contact us anytime by calling (573) 751-5471 or via email at holly.rehder@house.mo.gov or lynn.overton@house.mo.gov.   

Kindest regards,

 

 

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PDMP Update 4-22-16

The Narcotics Control Act Moves Forward in the Senate!

I’m excited to tell you today that the Narcotics Control Act was voted out of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety by a vote of 7 to 0 yesterday.  Our hearing went very well and I can’t thank Chairman Libla enough for the kindness he conveyed to those who came to testify on personal tragedies they have experienced due to us not having a prescription drug monitoring program in place.  I’ve added a video clip from the hearing.  Mrs. Cindy O’Neill displayed enormous courage explaining to the committee the downfall of our medical professionals not being able to see all the medications being prescribed to their patients.

Click below to watch this testimony in support of House Bill 1892 to establish PDMP in Missouri.

 

 

The Narcotics Control Act is now in a position to be brought up on the Senate floor for debate.  We are three weeks away from the end of session so it is imperative that you contact your Senator today and explain why this bill is important to you.  Whether you are in the medical field, and you see the need first hand every day, or if you or your family has suffered due to Missouri not having this important medical tool, they need to hear from you.  

As elected officials, it is important to us to hear from our constituents on the issues that matter to them.  Please make that call today.  YOU can help move this ball forward.

Together, we can help save families.

Kindest regards,

 

 


Holly Rehder

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Capitol Report - 3/28/16

Half-Time Report

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter weekend!  We are just wrapping up our legislative break this week and will head back into session tomorrow.  

This has been the fastest pace session so far for me.  Both of my larger pieces of legislation has moved quickly.  Paycheck Protection was Veto'd by the Governor last week.  I hope that we will attempt an override soon.  I have carried this for several years.  Each year I hear more and more from state workers on why this legislation needs to be enacted.  We were able to send it to the Governor's desk with veto proof numbers.  I'm excited that this may be the year we finally get it done!

The Narcotics Control Act has now passed through the House and is in the Senate waiting to be sent to committee.  We do have a Senate handler, Senator Dave Schatz.  I'm very excited Senator Schatz agreed to handle the bill.  He is very much a man of principle and can be a bull dog when necessary. He is just what we need!  I will keep everyone posted as we move forward.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers over the past few months.  As you know both of these bills are highly contentious and I can't tell you how much the kind words, thoughts and prayers from home mean to me.

We have also just finished the budget in the House and it is now in the Senate.  I've got more details for you on what the House version looks like below.  Keep in mind that the Senate will tweak it with their priorities and then both houses will work out the differences.  

Quick Recap:
Paycheck Protection” –  HB 1891.  The bill is meant to give public employee union members the right to opt-in annually if they choose to participate in their union. The current system requires a public employee to opt-out, and if they fail to do so their dues are automatically deducted.

"Narcotics Control Act" - HB 1892.   The bill has been sent to the Senate with the goal of enacting a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri, which is currently the only state in the nation without such a program in place. Known as the Narcotics Control Act, the bill would allow physicians and pharmacists to see their patients’ medication lists in order to catch those who try to obtain multiple prescriptions for addictive pain killers from different medical professionals, and most importantly, allow your medical professionals to catch addiction in it's early stages so that they may offer their patients other services, medications, etc. to curtail addiction.


 

This was taken when I was on the floor debating Paycheck Protection.  I got a kick out of my expression and thought you would too!  Sometimes debate in the Missouri House can make you feel like you're on another planet!


 

House Sends FY 2017 State Operating Budget to the Senate

The Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget has been finished in the House. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan are now in the Senate for consideration.
 
During discussion on the House floor, the approximately $27.3 billion spending plan saw House members offer and adopt several amendments to move funding from one program to another.
Changes to the budget on the floor must either be revenue neutral or revenue positive. In effect, if a member wants to increase funding in one area of the budget, he or she must first reduce corresponding funds in another area. With this, the size of the budget cannot grow on the House floor.
 
Some of the major changes made to the budget include:
 
·        A $1 million increase to the Foundation Formula that provides state funding for K-12 public schools. The money was moved from the Facilities Management Reserve Fund.
·        An additional $55,000 for the Foundation Formula that comes from a cut to the Missouri Department of Social Services. House members made a cut of $379,000 to ensure no state dollars are used for nonemergency abortions. The majority of the funds are federal, but the $55,000 in state funds were reallocated to education.
·        A $214,000 increase to the Parents as Teachers program. The money was cut from the budget for the governor’s office. 
·        An additional $50,000 to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that is designed to increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers among middle school and early high school students. The money was moved from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 
·        A funding increase of $1 million for agricultural research at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. The funds, which were taken from the University of Missouri – Columbia campus, will allow Lincoln to receive matching federal land grant funding.
·        $500,000 for the creation of an Urban Education Institute at Harris-Stowe State University. The money was moved from the funding increase for the state’s institutions of higher education.
·        $750,000 for the Brain Injury Waiver to draw down federal funds to help provide care to Missourians with brain injuries who are currently on a waiting list. The money was moved from funds allocated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.
·        $300,000 in funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center to offer shop and lab training and classroom instructional opportunities to high school graduates and dislocated workers. The money was moved from funding for the Department of Natural Resources.
 
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget as it moves to the Senate:
 
·        $70.3 million increase for the Foundation Formula, which funds K-12 public schools 
·        $9.4 million increase in performance funding for Missouri colleges and universities
·        $5 million increase for K-12 transportation 
·        $4 million increase for the Access Missouri need-based scholarship program. 
·        $2.5 million increase for the A+ Scholarship program
·        $500,000 increase for the Bright Flight scholarship program
·        $1.3 million for 2015’s Dairy Revitalization Act
     ·        $2 million increase for river ports
     ·        $1.25 million increase for business startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation
     ·        $30 million to revive the state cost-share program to fund transportation projects
     ·        Increase Medicaid provider rates by three percent
     ·        $500,000 increase for the Alternatives to Abortion program
     ·        Two percent pay increase for state employees


 

I'm always excited to see folks from home....no matter how busy we are!  I miss seeing Southeast Missouri friendly faces and hearing people who talk like me! :)

Our county's Recorder of Deeds came up for a conference and Mrs. Tara Mason and Mr. George Bays made it a point to stop by...they even brought a friend from Stoddard County!  I very much appreciate the service they do for us.  Thank you!


 

Creating Stricter Requirements for a Minor to Obtain an Abortion (HB 1370)

The members of the Missouri House took action this week to create stricter requirements for a minor to obtain an abortion in Missouri. Under current law, a minor must obtain the written consent of a parent or guardian in order to have an abortion. The legislation approved by the House would also require the consenting parent or guardian to first notify in writing any other custodial parent or guardian.
 
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rocky Miler, said his intent is to encourage families to have discussions before an abortion. This is a decision that cannot be reversed and both parents need to be a part of the discussion if possible.
 
The legislation approved by the House does wave the consent requirement in an emergency situation. The bill also clarifies that a parent or guardian is not required to receive notice if he or she has been found guilty of certain offenses, is listed on the state's Child Abuse or Neglect Central Registry, Sexual Offender Registry, has an order of protection against him or her, had their rights terminated, cannot be located, or is incapacitated.  The bill is now in the Senate.


 

     

Each year Cape Girardeau PD puts on a day of mock police calls for people in the community to get a feel for the work and service that they do for us.  As you can imagine, each year many bills are filed that directly affect the jobs of our officers and first responders. I have always had great respect for the dangerous work that they do, so I was very excited when asked to participate!  Words can not express my gratitude for all that they go through.  I very much appreciate the opportunity and highly recommend it to all!


 

House Makes History by Exercising Constitutional Authority to Override Governor’s Budget Restrictions

For the first time in state history, the Missouri House has successfully moved to override budget withholdings made by the governor. Voters approved Amendment 10 to the state constitution in 2014, which gives the legislature the authority to ensure programs receive funds that were appropriated by the General Assembly but then restricted by the governor. The legislature’s authority works in a similar fashion to its ability to override a gubernatorial veto and requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate. The House received bipartisan support with more than 120 votes for each of the motions approved this week.
 
The governor, who has the authority to restrict spending if revenues are insufficient to fund the budget, continues to withhold more than $46 million in funds from the state operating budget for the current fiscal year. However, House leaders claim the state’s revenue situation is healthy and that the governor has no reason to withhold funds to balance the budget. The vice chair of the House Budget Committee told his colleagues on the House floor that, due to a reduction in the supplemental budget of more than a million dollars, the funds are available to pay for the appropriation withhold overrides. 

As a result, the House exercised its constitutional authority to force the governor to release $575,000 in withheld funds for the Missouri Scholars Academy and the Missouri Fine Arts Academy. The Missouri Scholars Academy is an academic program for Missouri’s most gifted high school students, and the Missouri Fine Arts Academy is a program for highly motivated student artists in visual arts, theatre, dance, creative writing, and music. The state has traditionally provided funding for the academies, but the governor has both vetoed and withheld funds from the programs in recent years. The funds the House voted to release would allow students to attend the programs without having to pay an additional charge.
 
The House also voted to release $350,000 to the Brain Injury Waiver Fund that is used to help provide care to Missourians with brain injuries, who are currently on a waiting list. The waiver model includes early intervention and treatment options to provide critical services while reducing long-term costs. The program is meant to provide access to rehabilitation that allows people to successfully regain daily life skills and vocational potential.
 
Both motions now move to the Senate for consideration. If they receive two-thirds votes there, the governor will then be forced to release the funds.


 

Our fine folks from the Bootheel Counseling Services came to visit a few weeks ago to discuss budgetary needs.  The entire Southeast Missouri area is blessed by the workers of Bootheel Counseling.  They tirelessly lend help to all in need.  They are a shining star for the Bootheel!


 

Looking Ahead to Busy Final Weeks of Session

When we return tomorrow we will be prepared for long hours and lengthy discussions on the many bills that have yet to cross the legislative finish line. To date the House has seen more than 1,500 bills filed with nearly 450 House Bills already receiving committee approval. At this time the House has approved and sent to the Senate more than 150 bills, and so far only one of the bills has received final approval. The number of bills sent to the Senate is a significant increase from last session when the House had approved just more than 90 bills entering the break.

The high volume of bills moving through the process means a heavy workload when we return. In addition to the work that will need to be done to reach a final agreement with the Senate on the state budget, we will continue to work with colleagues in the senate to advance several ethics reform bills, public safety bills, pro-life legislation, and many other issues that matter to Missourians from all parts of the state.  Many bills are fixes to current law; and many, many of the bills filed do not need to see the light of day. 

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Holly Rehder, state representative, 148th District paid for by friends of Holly Rehder, Lisa Neumeyer, Treasurer
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