Legislative report: April 12, 2017

Rep. Lyle Rowland

Greetings from your state Capitol. Last week the House passed to the Senate the following bills:

HBs 90 & 68 establish the Narcotics Control Act.

HB 142 authorizes telephone companies to elect to have their tangible personal property assessed in accordance with a depreciation schedule.

HB 275 prohibits the use of automated traffic enforcement systems and requires any political subdivision to complete or terminate any automated traffic enforcement contract within one year.

HB 502 modifies provisions relating to fantasy sports contests.

HB 542 modifies current law to ensure compliance with the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015.

HB 573 establishes requirements for certain settlement offers of tort claims that must be accepted within a specified period of time.

HB 780 establishes the State Innovation Waiver Task Force to develop alternatives to and possible exemptions or waivers from the federal requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Four consent bills were sent to the Senate.

The House also passed the budget to the Senate this week. Many difficult decisions were made during the budget process. Despite revenue shortfalls, the House was able to protect services to all in the state. The House GOP created the Senior Services Protection Fund, which is a dedicated fund used to provide vital services such as in-home healthcare and nursing home services. Here are the budget highlights:

• The budget is balanced, as required by the Constitution

• K-12 foundation formula is fully funded for the first time since 2005

• $6 million to expand broadband to rural schools

• $150K to revamp Amber Alert (adds silver and blue alerts to the system)

• Lowers the 3 percent cut to Medicaid providers to 1.5 percent

• Allocates $42 million (all federal) to implement the excellence in mental health program

• Restores $21 million to higher education

• Maintains most social services funding for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens

• Restored points back to 21 for in-home health services, maintaining services for our state’s most vulnerable citizens

• $2 million more in funding for alternatives to abortion

• Missouri State Employees Retirement System is allocated a record amount of funds, $15 million more than last year

• $200 million was set aside in a supplemental fund to pay for unexpected expenses

I have had a few calls about HB 340, which allows energy suppliers to charge a grid usage fee for customers who use solar power. The fee is capped at 75 percent of what the energy supplier charges its customers. The bill addresses cost and infrastructure concerns that have arisen because electricity users without solar panels end up bearing the costs of maintenance. Additionally, a grandfather clause exempts customers who currently have solar panels. This bill creates a fairer energy system in Missouri.

Complete bill information can be found on the House website at www.house.mo.gov.

As always, it is a privilege to represent you in state government.


Ozark County Times

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