This has been a really tough week. There were so many issues that people are passionate about debated on the floor during this week’s sessions. Whether it is doing our best to protect the lives of the unborn, or protecting our citizens by ensuring those who drive on our roads can understand English by requiring driving tests to be in English only, or Constitutionally allowing the right for people to pray, we have done what is right for Missourians. Sometimes decisions are tough but right must prevail and I promise to always do what I believe to be right.
FLOOR ACTION: Monday, March 7th
HCS HB 108, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-150), was third read and unanimously passed, 156-0. This bill deals with the regulations surrounding contributions to political action committees and provides some much needed revisions to our campaign finance laws.
HCS HB 174, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (R-4), was ordered perfected and printed. Currently there are nine districts for which each district contributes one member to the University of Missouri Board of Curators. Since the districts are being reduced to eight, this bill allows for at least one, but no more than two, members of the Board of Curators to be from one of the eight districts.
HCS HBs 112 & 285, sponsored by Rep. David Day (R-148), relating to tax classification of sawmills, was ordered perfected and printed. The classification change from commercial to agricultural and horticultural reduces the property tax rate from 32% to 12%. This is a wise move for supporting this struggling segment of the business community in Missouri. The vast majority of these businesses are family run small businesses providing needed regional employment during tough economic times. Creating an environment friendly to their survival is a positive for saving Missouri jobs and businesses.
HB 167, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-33), was debated on the floor at great length this week. This is the “English Only Driver’s Exam” bill. MODOT spends millions of dollars on road signs in the name of safety which are in English, the official language of our State. It is not good government policy to then turn around and provide licenses (a privilege, not a constitutional right) to anyone who cannot read them and be aware of situations on our roadways.
FLOOR ACTION: Tuesday, March 8th
HJR 2, sponsored by Rep. Mike McGhee (R-122), was perfected and printed and then passed on Thursday. This bill proposes a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee a person’s right to worship or pray on public property. It would also be a reaffirmation of a person’s right to choose any or no religion. This is one of the cornerstones of our nation.
HCS HB 266, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-150), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill changes the weight limitations for hauling livestock and/or agricultural products on state highways in Missouri. The concern over damage caused by an increase in weight would be offset by fewer hauls.
HB 339, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Pollock (R-146), was ordered perfected and printed. This bill changes the regulations surrounding the carrier of last resort obligations for telecommunications companies. It is a good bill to reduce unnecessary regulations and potential cost in the telecommunications industry.
FLOOR ACTION: Wednesday, March 9th
The perfection debate on HB 167 ended today. If it is worth millions of dollars to put road safety signs up for public safety, we should make sure that drivers can read ALL of them.
HCS HB 213, of which I am the Chief Sponsor, came up for its first debate on the Floor. This bill is commonly referred to as the late term abortion ban. The bottom line is that it is a constitutionally defensible position that the State should protect those who are most needy. With respect to the neediest, who could be more in need of protection than an unborn child? In the State of Missouri, if you are an unborn child who has reached a level of viability, you are currently not afforded any legal protection. We must take the steps necessary to correct this injustice and HB 213 does exactly that.
Third Read Thursday, March 10th
Today, the House gave final passage to the following bills described above: HCS HB 174, HCS HBs 112 and 285, HCS HB 266, HB 339, HB 167 and HJR 2.