Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

08 June 2011

Kraus: End of Session Wrap-Up

One of the first things you learn in any legislative body is that there is more than one way to pass needed legislation. Proposed legislation can often be amended to another bill, or it can be combined with other bills through the committee process. This year, seven of the bills I introduced are on their way to the governor in various ways:
  1. SB 74 created drug screening for TANF applicants and recipients, based upon reasonable cause. It also required entry into a drug treatment program for those testing positive. Similar legislation (HB 73) passed both chambers late in session.
  2. SB 112 protected third-party reporters of child abuse from lawsuits. Similar language to what I introduced passed in SB 54. The new legislation would apply to any person who is not a school district employee. If signed by the governor, any such individual who reports child abuse by a school employee to another employee of the school district will have immunity from any liability as a result of the report, provided the person makes the report in good faith.
  3. SB 180, which designates special days for bicycle and pedestrian events, was passed and sent to the governor for his signature. This act names the month of October as "Walk & Bike to School Month," the first Wednesday of October as "Walk and Bike to School Day," the month of May as "Missouri Bicycle Month," the third Friday in May as "Bike to Work Day," and the week of “Bike to Work Day” as "Bike to Work Week."
  4. SB 270 removed two election dates. For taxpayers, it costs money to hold a local election on days other than when a primary or general election is already being held. Currently there are five election days in a given year: February, April, June, August, and November. SB 282, which I amended, removed June as an election date and is headed to the governor.
  5. SB 271 modified two Kansas City Police Department pension funds. The House version, HB 183, passed and the language was also included in a larger pension bill, HB 282, which also passed.
  6. SB 399 modified laws related to rental services, making it a crime when rented property is returned but not paid for. It was included in HB 111, which passed in the final hour of session.
  7. SB 400 modified laws related to sexual contact with a student. It also passed in HB 111. This act adds elected and appointed officials of the public school district to the types of people who may not have sexual contact with a student, and broadens the crime to include acts committed outside of school property.
To read the exact language of legislation that I sponsored, please visit my Senate website at

This session, the Legislature passed three bills to spur economic development and job creation in the state.
  1. Corporate Franchise Tax: To meet the goal of enabling employers to invest in working families rather than government growth, SB 19 phases out the corporate franchise tax.
  2. Unemployment Taxes: The Legislature passed a compromise bill, HB163, which extended unemployment benefits from 79 to 99 weeks. As part of that bill, we also included a reduction in Missouri’s share of initial unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks. This saves Missouri businesses more than $100 million a year.
  3. Help for Small Businesses: For tax years 2011 through 2014, HB 45 authorizes an income tax deduction for a small business for each full-time job created with an annual salary of at least the county average wage. In addition, the definition of a small business was revised to include businesses with fewer than 50 employees instead of the current 25.

Missouri’s 2012 Budget

This year, Missouri had less General Revenue to work with – about $676 million less than 2010 – to craft next year’s budget. Fortunately, we were able to pass a budget on time without raising taxes. Thirteen budget bills, totaling $23.2 billion, were approved for the next fiscal year starting July 1. I voted against most of the budget bills because we are using close to $400 million in one-time federal funds that will not be available next year. Using one-time money for on-going budget items is irresponsible.

This year, education remained a top budget priority for the Senate. Even though we had less money to spend, funding for our public schools remained flat compared to Fiscal Year 2011.

The graphic below shows how each taxpayer dollar is distributed to various state government functions. It includes all funds spent by the state, including federal funds. I think it is a very educational graphic.

District Activities

This Saturday, June 11, I will be travelling along with a number of District 8 residents to Joplin to help in the relief effort. A number of people responded to the article in last week’s report, and I appreciate all words of encouragement and offers to help. I feel so honored to represent such a great district.

No comments:

Post a Comment