I hope you are all doing well. From sunshine to snow and back again seems to mirror the way things go in all of our lives at some points, doesn't it?
As you know, the legislature is considering changing laws supported by the voters including puppy mill reform and renewable energy sourcing. My plan is to stand by the will of the people. It would take quite a serious threat of harm to our region and our state to move me to overturn your vote.
Count on me to continue to carefully weigh ever-changing legislative proposals as we move forward.
You will receive a survey from my office shortly. As we move into the second half of our legislative session, your insights and comments are particularly helpful. I look forward to hearing from you.
Issues on the House Floor
Puppy MillsControversial legislation regarding Proposition B, commonly known as "Puppy Mill Reform," was heard on the House Floor. This is the legislation for which I have received the most correspondence this year to date. For those closely monitoring, the bill being discussed is House Bill 131. Some amendments have been added to the bill. However, in the midst of the debate, with additional amendments drafted but not yet proposed, the legislation has been laid over to return at a later date.
Guns (Maybe you feel safer now...)Omnibus firearms legislation [HB294] passed through the house this past week just before we adjourned for Spring break. Some of the provisions of the bill include lowering the age for conceal and carry to 21, and ensuring that legislators and staff can conceal and carry on the house floor (but don't you bring your guns to the Capitol, we are the only ones who can be armed!) The bill makes certain guns purchased anywhere in the nation, not just in contiguous states, can be brought to Missouri, that no component parts of guns can be taxed at a higher rate than any other sporting equipment...this list goes on and on. Personally, I would feel safer and more protected if I knew that jobs were being created and people were earning wages needed to take care of their households.
2011 Legislation Receives HearingEnacting a Statewide Smokefree Standard and Encouraging Healthy Living
Two of the bills I filed for the 2011 session were heard in House committees just before break:
House Bill 438, creating a the statewide smokefree standard, was heard in the Local Government committee and has yet to be voted upon. As many cities and states across the nation adopt smokefree legislation aimed at promoting health and well being, this state legislation will support those efforts while leveling the playing field for businesses from one community to the next. Thank you to the organizations and individuals who came to testify in support of this legislation.
House Bill 520 seeks to reverse a 2009 change in tax collection that was implemented by the Missouri Department of Revenue. In November of 2009, Missourians taking exercise classes began being charged a 4% sales tax as part of the "Athletes and Entertainers" tax. As I have heard from so many people who take classes such as pilates for reasons of health, these classes are not about competing as an athlete or for entertainment. Real physical disabilities have been mitigated or overcome through exercise. Again, the promotion of healthy living and the burden collection and reporting of this tax has on small business owners were the reasons I filed this legislation. A vote on this bill has not occurred yet but we hope to have one in the coming weeks.
Welcoming Students to Their State Capitol
Representative Schupp speaking with fourth graders from the Saul Mirowitz Day School - Reform Jewish Academy in the hallway of the Capitol. These students researched 2011 legislation and brought their position papers and thoughtful ideas for discussion and debate.
Reminder! If you need to schedule a school visit to the State Capitol, time is limited! Please contact Anne Marie Rhoades at (314) 616 5009 or by email to book your visit today.
SCOPE Event: A Successful Community Connection
Thank you to all those who participated in the amazing SCOPE event at the Creve Coeur Government Center! I sponsored this event with Representative John Diehl. We are pictured above with SCOPE's executive director, Cynthia Kramer (L). She and her team did a wonderful job of connecting families with science and technology.
SCOPE (Science and Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration) is a state-wide organization that seeks to engage people in learning about science and technology. For information on future SCOPE events, visit the SCOPE website.
Volunteers from organizations and businesses around the community helped kids and parents explore science and experience exciting technology.