From the Desk of Holly

Blog Home > Archive (April, 2016)
Updates From Last Week

Updates from Last Week

Last week we wrapped up a few ongoing items as well as the budget.  Many good things to be proud of in this year's budget.  Please see below for details.  Have a blessed week!

House and Senate Complete Fiscal Year 2017 State Operating Budget

After long hours of discussion and compromise, the Missouri House and Senate came to a final agreement on the state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in July of this year. In its final form the budget checks in at $27.26 billion. Because the House had based its original budget on a more conservative revenue estimate than was used by the governor and the Senate, the House version also contained a surplus revenue fund to capture any additional revenues that would come in above the estimate. The compromise version of the budget does away with the surplus revenue fund and instead is based on a slightly higher revenue estimate than was originally used by the House. The end result is a fiscally responsible spending plan based on realistic revenue projections that makes wise use of taxpayer dollars.
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget as it now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law:

• $70.3 million increase for the Foundation Formula, which funds K-12 public schools
• $5 million increase for K-12 transportation
• $537,000 in additional funding for the Parents as Teachers Program to be dedicated to struggling school districts
• $37.2 million increase in performance funding for Missouri colleges and universities, which includes approximately $17.8 million in new funding for the University of Missouri System. The budget also includes a $3.8 million cut to the MU system’s administration.
• $750,000 to fund a commission to review the MU system’s administrative structure, campus structure, auxiliary enterprises structure, degree programs, research activities, and diversity programs.
• $3 million to assist the University of Missouri – Kansas City and Missouri Southern in a joint project to create a dental school in southwest Missouri
• $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
• $2.5 million for 2015’s Dairy Revitalization Act
• $4.55 million increase for business startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation
• $1 million to open five new trade offices to help promote international trade and Missouri agriculture
• $20 million to revive the state cost-share program to fund transportation projects
• Increase Medicaid provider rates by three percent
• $4.3 million for the Alternatives to Abortion program
• Two percent pay increase for state employees
• $500,000 for a pilot project to utilize current technology to allow for better monitoring of offenders on probation and parole
• $600,00 for the Missouri State Highway Patrol to hire and train 10 additional troopers
• $4.1 million to improve technology for local sheriff’s departments 

Ethics Proposals Continue to Move Forward (HB 1983 and HB 1979)

The Missouri House continued to make good on the promise made by the House Speaker as it saw another piece of ethics reform legislation signed into law this past week. During his Opening Day Address, House Speaker Richardson made it clear that the top legislative priority for the House would be substantive ethics reform. House members then moved quickly to send seven single subject ethics bills to the Senate.
The bill that is set to become law on August 28 will prohibit statewide elected officials, members of the General Assembly, and candidates for those offices from receiving compensation as political consultants who are paid for profit to engage in specified political activities on behalf of other individuals holding office as statewide elected officials or members of the General Assembly.
The sponsor of the bill said the measure is essential to “safeguard public trust in elected officials” and called the bill an important first step. He added that he thinks it is important for people to trust that their public servants are “here for the right reasons, not to profit and make personal gain from their public office."
Also this week, the Senate gave final approval to another piece of ethics legislation and sent it on its way to the governor’s desk. The bill requires members to wait six months after their term expires before becoming a lobbyist. If signed into law, the bill will add Missouri to the list of more than 30 states that require a waiting period before a lawmaker can become a lobbyist.

Missouri House Moves to Ban Donation of Fetal Tissue from Abortions (HBs 2069 & 2371)

The Missouri House advanced legislation to prevent fetal tissue from abortions from being donated for medical or scientific use. The bill specifically prohibits an individual from knowingly donating the fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion to any person or entity for medical, scientific, experimental, therapeutic, or any other use.
The bill stems from the recommendations made by two House committees that met during the interim to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood sold the tissues and organs from aborted fetuses. It was last year that an anti-abortion group released video that appeared to show a Planned Parenthood executive discuss how the organization disposes of the tissues and organs from aborted fetuses. Pro-life activists claim the video proved that Planned Parenthood sold the tissues for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood claims the allegations are not true and any costs associated with the tissues are there to cover related expenses.
In addition to the ban on the donation of fetal tissues from abortions, the legislation approved by the House would establish a tracking system for fetal remains. Specifically, it requires all tissue removed from an abortion to be sent to a pathologist. Currently, only a representative sample of tissue removed at the time of abortion must be sent to a pathologist. Each fetal tissue specimen must be given a unique identification number to allow the specimen to be tracked from the abortion facility or hospital where the abortion was performed to the pathology lab and its final disposition location.
The bill also requires the department of health and senior services to conduct annual, unannounced, on-site inspections and investigations of abortion facilities.
Julie Braden stopped in the Capitol week before last on her break from college.  She was a breath of fresh air and Rep. Shelley Keeney Taylor and I had a blast showing her around.  This photo is Julie and Shelley at the top of the Capitol dome. 

Providing Children with Dyslexia with Adequate Resources (HB 2379)

The House approved legislation to provide additional resources and assistance to young people with dyslexia. This bill requires each public school to screen students for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times. In addition, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must develop guidelines for the appropriate screening of students and the necessary classroom supports. The requirements and guidelines must be consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia, which is also created by this bill.
The bill also requires that the school board of each district and governing board of each charter school must provide reasonable support for any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder.
The bill establishes the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia to make recommendations for a statewide system for identification, intervention, and delivery of supports for students with dyslexia including the development of resource materials, professional development activities, and proposed legislation. The task force must hold its first meeting before October 1, 2016 and must submit a report within 12 months of the meeting.
The bill is necessary because many children with dyslexia are seeing their educational opportunities adversely impacted due to a lack of proper treatment. Currently, many schools don’t or can’t screen for dyslexia. Proponents say the bill will be a step toward ensuring proper screening and resources for children with dyslexia, which will lead to improvements in school and in other aspects of their lives.

Missouri House Approves Bill to Help Veterans Suffering from PTSD (HB 1428)

The Missouri House gave overwhelming bipartisan support to legislation that would provide additional assistance to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). House members approved HB 1428 to change Missouri law to recognize mental health service dogs on the same level as traditional service dogs.
The bill would revise the definition of "service dog" to include animals that provide support or therapeutic functions for individuals with psychiatric or mental disabilities. The sponsor said the change is necessary to provide additional support to the many combat veterans who returned home with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury. The sponsor also noted that the global war on terror has created 2.7 million veterans with 20 percent of these individuals estimated to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and more than 300,000 estimated to have a traumatic brain injury.
By adding the definition of the mental health service dogs to current statutes, the Missouri House hopes to help returning veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, and an array of mental health diagnoses. Mental health service dogs are individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the psychiatric disabilities of their disabled partners. Therapy dogs can guide a disoriented handler to safety, find a family member for assistance, and stop obsessive compulsive disorder actions.
Despite their benefits, mental health service dogs have not been recognized and treated on the same level as traditional service dogs. However, mental health services dogs are already recognized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

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 or   

Kindest regards,


Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
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

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Capitol Report - 4/14/16

4 Weeks to Go!

In the last few weeks of session we have to watch especially close to all bills brought up on the floor because of last minute amendments.  A bill that we could be in favor of, and extremely familiar with, can change in an instant with a floor amendment.  A bill coming back from the senate could be completely changed via added senate language.  This is why when you look at our votes we very well may have voted for something the first round and then against on the second or third vote.  One instance of this happened just today.  House Bill 1632 originally simply required county office vacancies to be appointed in a timely fashion.  However, once amendments were finalized, the bill takes away the authority of local county health boards to pass health regulations, rules and orders.  This is a my vote changed from a yes, to a no.




Please share this video with your friends and family.  We need to generate as many calls into our Senators as possible.  It truly makes a difference.  When a Senator has 10 calls against legislation and 200 for it....they can easily say "my district needs and wants this passed!"  That's powerful.  I humbly ask for your help...together we can help save families.


Legislative Pressure Prompts Governor Nixon to Release Withheld Funding

As the governor released $2.1 million in funds he had withheld from the current state operating budget, House Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan expressed his thanks but also cautioned that the legislature will continue to monitor other opportunities to override the governor’s withholdings.
The Missouri House had voted in bipartisan fashion on Wednesday, March 16 to override the governor’s withholds of $575,000 for the Missouri Scholars Academy and the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, and $350,000 for the Brain Injury Waiver Fund. While the Senate has yet to complete the overrides, Flanigan said it’s clear that the constitutional authority given to the General Assembly by voters was instrumental in forcing the governor’s hand.
“I’m happy to see the governor release funds to these deserving programs, but also extremely thankful that the voters made the wise decision to give the legislature the authority to intervene in times when his withholds are not justified. This is an important check and balance that Missourians saw fit to give us, and it’s a power we will continue to exercise when the governor oversteps his authority by unnecessarily restricting funding for worthy programs,” said Flanigan.
The governor also released $250,000 in funding for the foster kids health home, $400,000 for asthma services, $300,000 for naturally occurring retirement communities, and $250,000 for the Sullivan County Lake project. Even with the money he released, the governor continues to withhold more than $44 million in funds appropriated by the legislature for the current state operating budget.
The legislature gained the constitutional authority to override withholdings made by the governor when Missourians overwhelming approved Amendment 10 in 2014. 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.


This lovely group came to the Capitol from SADI, the SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence.  They come up every year and always work hard to explain how SADI benefits our districts!


Additional Help For Noranda Employees

This past week we had the opportunity to help pass House Bill 2689 out of the House of Representatives.  HB 2689 would enable the Noranda to receive a sustainable power rate.  It is a critical step to restarting the smelter’s pot lines and getting people back to work.  Without a competitive and sustainable power rate it is very unlikely the smelter will ever produce another pound of aluminum.
House Bill 2689 now moves on to the Senate.  With only four weeks remaining in this legislative session, time cannot be wasted.  The jobs at Noranda support our region in many ways.  The risk of this rippling effect through our region is too great to miss any and all opportunities to mitigate the damage.

Missouri Job Center Programs and Services:
The Missouri Job Centers provide the following programs and services to Dislocated Workers:
•  Assessment services to identify your skills, interests and other traits to help guide you to a new career
•  Earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, a portable credential measuring workplace skills
•  Career counseling services to help you explore potential careers, utilize labor market information and identify open jobs that meet your skill sets
•  Development of an Individual Employment Plan to assist you in reaching your employment goals
•  Job preparation workshops to assist with resume writing, interviewing skills and effective job searching
•  Workshops on financial management and starting a small business
•  Training and education services that allow you to earn a certificate or work toward a degree
•  Work Based Learning programs to either gain valuable work experience or train On-the-Job
•  Utilize Job Center equipment to conduct a self directed job search
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Supportive Services may be available to Noranda workers, living out of state, on a limited basis to allow for participation in Career, Individualized or Training services (career counseling, workshops, assessments, or training).  Supportive services are not available to individuals participating in self directed services. Eligibility for WIOA Supportive Services is determined on a case by case basis and based on actual need. Allowable Supportive Services include:
•  Transportation (mileage reimbursement, car repairs, car payment);
•  Child or dependent care;
•  Housing (rent, utilities); and
•  Tools, uniforms, boots/shoes, clothing or books necessary for training or work.
Eligibility Guidelines for WIOA Supportive Services require:
•  Participation in a WIOA Career, Individualized or Training Service;
•  Inability to obtain services through any other source, such as faith based organizations, non-profit organizations, government assistance programs, etc; and
•  Be able to show how the Supportive Service is necessary to participate in WIOA Individualized or Training services. 
Trade Act Program:
The Noranda closure has been certified as a Trade Act eligible event.   Trade Act offers the following benefits:
•  Training Assistance
    •  Provides up to 130 weeks of full or part time training based on need and Labor Market Information (LMI); or
    •  Up to 130 weeks of Registered Apprenticeship; or
    •  Up to 104 weeks of On-the-Job training based on need and Labor Market Information (LMI).
•  Trade Reemployment Allowance (TRA)
    •  Provides benefit similar to Unemployment Insurance (UI) for workers who meet specific criteria.  When combined with UI, a worker may receive up to 130 weeks of benefits.  Filing deadlines apply.
•  Job Search Allowance
    •  Provides a 90% reimbursement of expenses incurred to participate in approved job search activities that are outside the worker’s commuting area (commuting area is defined, in Missouri, as 25 miles one-way).
•  Relocation Allowance
    •  Provides a 90% reimbursement of moving expenses when suitable employment is obtained outside of the worker’s commuting area.  Suitable employment is a job that pays at least 80% of the wage rate of the previously held position and is full-time, permanent.
    •  Provides a lump up to $1,250 for other expenses (deposit on utilities, apartment, etc.)
•  Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA)
    •  Provides a wage subsidy for workers who are 50 years old or older that pays half the difference in wage between the previously held job and new employment.  Maximum benefit is two years or $10,000.
•  Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)
    •  Provides a 72.5% tax credit for health insurance premiums.  This program is administered by the IRS ( and they define which insurance plans are allowable.
        •  To be potentially eligible under the Trade Act program, the worker has to be receiving Unemployment Insurance (and be eligible for TRA), TRA, or RTAA.
        •  HCTC is on a month to month basis depending on if a UI, TRA, or RTAA payment was drawn.


Mr. Tom Beardsley came up to see me this week to discuss the Convention of the States.  I was so impressed and appreciate Mr. Tom caring so much about our district and nation!


House Approves Regulations for Fantasy Sports such as FanDuel and DraftKings (HB 1941)

The Missouri House gave approval this week to legislation that would require daily fantasy sports sites to register to do business in Missouri, but would exempt them from the state’s gambling laws.
The legislation would require fantasy sports sites like FanDuel and DraftKings to register with the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, and pay an annual $5,000 registration fee. The bill also would require safeguards to prevent individuals who would have an unfair advantage from participating in fantasy contests, such as employees or individuals who participate in, or officiate, the sporting event.
Supporters of the legislation believe daily fantasy sports sites require skill and should not be regulated in the same way gambling is in Missouri. Opponents say daily fantasy sports do involve luck rather than just skill, and that the regulations outlined by the bill are not extensive enough.


Protecting Missourians from the Dangers of Human Trafficking (HB 2561)

Missourians would be better aware of the dangers of human trafficking under legislation approved by the House this week. House members approved a bill to require various establishments in Missouri to display a poster that provides information regarding the national human trafficking resource center hotline.
Under the bill, the poster would have to be displayed near the entrance of establishments such as hotels or motels that have been cited as a public nuisance for prostitution, strip clubs or other sexually-oriented businesses, private clubs that have a liquor permit, women’s health centers, bus stations, train stations, airports, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers.
The posted would contain the following information:
“If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave – whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity – call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to access help and services. Victims of human trafficking are protected under U.S. and Missouri law.
The toll-free hotline is:
·         Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
·         Operated by a non-profit, non-governmental organization
·         Anonymous and confidential
·         Accessible in 170 languages
·         Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information."

Supporters of the bill said the posters are an important tool to raise awareness by providing access to information for victims and those who might observe human trafficking. They noted that 25 other states already encourage or mandate that similar posters be displayed.


Protecting Seniors from Bullying (HB 1715)

The House took action this week to approve a very simple but very important piece of legislation that will better protect Missouri’s senior population from harm. The bill approved by House members defines that bullying an elderly person constitutes elderly abuse.  The bill goes on to define bullying as intimidation or harassment that causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her physical safety or property. Under the bill, bullying would consist of physical actions including gestures; cyberbullying; oral, electronic, or written communication; and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts.
The sponsor of the bill noted that Missouri already acknowledges bullying is wrong for children, and his bill simply makes it a crime to bully seniors as well. He said the goal with his bill is to send the message that bullying Missouri’s most vulnerable is unacceptable.

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Capitol Report - 4/08/16

5 Weeks to Go!

Bills are moving fast and both Houses are working diligently to finalize the budget, wrap up remaining bills coming through committees and discuss all bills that have advanced to the floor.

Paycheck Protection is waiting for our veto over-ride.  I'm looking forward to getting this done!

The Narcotics Control Act is scheduled to be heard in the Senate committee on April 20th.   Keep this in your prayers please!


The ladies from Bootheel Babies made the trip up from Southeast Missouri to lobby on behalf of this important program.


So excited to have some of our East Prairie ladies up this week with Mississippi County Caring Communities.  They had a table display in the rotunda and met with legislators about the programs they provide.  Very important to our communities!


First Ethics Reform Measure Advances to Governor’s Desk (HB 1983)

Making good on the promise to make substantive ethics reform a top priority, the General Assembly sent legislation to the governor’s desk this week that would help improve the culture at the State Capitol. The legislation that has now received final approval from both the House and Senate would prohibit statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly from receiving compensation as paid political consultants.
The bill, which received bipartisan support in the House and unanimous approval in the Senate, would ensure that elected officials do not receive pay for campaign strategy or fundraising work while in office. The sponsor of the legislation explained how some elected officials have used their positions to gain personal wealth, and the bill is meant to prevent this type of conflict of interest.  You would think this common sense measure would already be in place....but, hopefully it will be soon!
The bill now awaits the signature of the governor, who has said he supports strengthening the state’s ethics laws. 


I love having our retired teachers up from Sikeston each year.  Seeing Mrs. Marlys always puts a smile on my face!  You can bet these ladies had fun while getting business done.


House Approves “Step Therapy” Measure to Improve Access to Vital Medications (HB 2029)

Missourians with chronic illnesses would have better access to the medications they need under legislation approved by the Missouri House this week. The legislation is designed to prevent redundant “step therapy” so that patients who switch health insurance benefits are not forced to try medications that have already proven to be ineffective before being allowed to use medication that works.
The bill is designed to address a problem the sponsor encountered as he sought medical treatment for his type II diabetes. With step therapy, a patient will first use the most cost-effective and safest medication and, if it is not effective, will then move to a more costly therapy. Step therapy has been an effective process, but the sponsor noted that it becomes an issue when a patient tries several medications to find one that is effective, but then has to start the process all over again when changing insurance providers.
The legislation approved by the House simply ensures that a patient will not have to go through the process of trying multiple medications again simply because of an insurance change. In effect, it makes it so the medicine prescribed by the patient’s doctor is the medicine the patient is allowed to take. 
The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support and is now on its way to the Senate for consideration.


Farm Bureau has an annual dinner for farmers and legislators each year in Jefferson City.  Several farmers from SEMO always make it up.  In this picture is Rep. Tila Hubrecht, Tom and Becky Jennings, Holly and Mr. Matt Bain from Lt. Governor Peter Kinder's office.


Expanding Access to Health Care (HB 1923)

The Missouri House approved legislation this week designed to modernize health care in Missouri, and improve the level of care provided by the state’s system of Medicaid. The legislation brings telehealth services in Missouri into state statute and works to bring greater access to health care to Missourians in rural and underserved areas. 
The bill would update Missouri’s laws on Medicaid reimbursement in regard to telehealth services so that more health care professionals could provide telehealth care to Medicaid recipients. Supporters of the bill say it is an important change that will allow patients to receive care without having to travel long distances. They noted the change could also result in a significant cost savings. In 2015 the state’s Medicaid program allocated more than $40 million for use in providing non-emergency medical transportation to take patients in underserved areas to see specialists.
The legislation would further expand telehealth services by adding schools as an approved originating site that is eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. Additionally, the bill clarifies the law regarding prescriptions made by a physician via telemedicine to better ensure pharmacies will provide the prescribed medication.
Telehealth is a means of delivering health care through the use of videoconferencing and other telecommunication technologies. It allows patients to have a live, real-time interaction with a specialist, who can provide care almost as effectively as if they are in the same room. Telemedicine has been an option for some Missourians for more than two decades now and the Missouri Telehealth Network has more than 200 sites in 62 Missouri counties. The network provided 30,000 appointments in 2013 that allowed most patients to see specialists that weren’t available in their hometown. A recent study by the network found that 90 percent of patients and providers were satisfied with the quality of care they received via telemedicine.


Our SEMO Electric folks stopped in last week to talk about the issues facing our utility companies today.  Great group from Southeast Missouri....and much better weather for their trip this year!


Each year Senator Doug Libla brings a group of kids up from the Bootheel to show them their Capitol and to learn a little about the legislative process.  This is such a great experience for the kids and I can't thank Senator Libla enough for his kindness and concern about our communities and constituents.  In this picture, Rep. Don Rone is answering questions.


Honoring Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans

Some of the state’s greatest heroes made their way to the State Capitol this week to be honored for their service to this country. Vietnam veterans traveled to Jefferson City to be honored by lawmakers during the annual observance of Vietnam Veterans Day.
House members offered resolutions to many of the visiting veterans in appreciation for their service to the United States. Lawmakers also gathered in the House Lounge to offer their sincere thanks to the many veterans in attendance. Finally, members paused from a busy day of debate to honor the visiting Vietnam Veterans on the House floor.
The observance of Vietnam Veterans Day was created by HB 1128, which was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor in 2012. The day is meant to recognize the courage and patriotism of those who served during the Vietnam Conflict.


Look at this awesome group that came to the Capitol from Southeast Missouri!  Brian Henson brought the students up from the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.  They were in Jefferson City for the SkillsUSA leadership state competition.


Representative Swan and Holly working on the House floor

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Page 1 of 1
First Previous
Next Last
Pages :
Holly Rehder, state representative, 148th District paid for by friends of Holly Rehder, Lisa Neumeyer, Treasurer
Powered By Element 74