Monday, January 16, 2011
The House of Representatives was not in Session on Monday to commemorate the 26th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great American hero whose efforts to correct the injustice of discrimination and racism helped this nation overcome the blindness of bigotry and served as a beacon of hope for millions of Americans longing for the day when we are all united; the day when we view each other as fellow human beings and fellow Americans, with no regard to race or color. This nation has made tremendous strides since that fateful day in 1968 which ended the life of Dr. King. On Monday, we remembered and celebrated the unwavering message of Dr. King.
A Glimpse at the Week Ahead
Several bills are currently on the House Calendar and may be taken up for Perfection by the House this week.
HCS HJR 43, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-136), would place limits on state appropriations. Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment prohibits appropriations in any fiscal year from exceeding the total state general revenue appropriations from the previous year by more than the appropriations growth limit when the total state general revenue appropriations for the current fiscal year exceeds the level for Fiscal Year 2008. The appropriations growth limit is the percentage that is the greater of zero or the sum of the annual rate of inflation and the annual percentage change in Missouri’s population. Supporters say that the bill will limit the growth of government spending, provide long-term fiscal planning and rainy day funds, help balance the economic highs and lows, protect programs and funding, reduce income tax rates, and create a better business environment. The bill does not apply to local governments and will not limit the power of the legislature to appropriate funds between programs. Unlike Colorado's TABOR, adjustments have been made in the bill to prevent the “ratchet-back” effect.
HB 1135, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-150), will give the Secretary of State the authority to make technical changes to rules. HB 1135 improves transparency in Missouri government by requiring the review of administrative rules. Over time, department rules become outdated or obsolete. By requiring these rules to be reviewed periodically, we can ensure that all agency rules are efficient and effective. This proposal also allows ordinary people the right to request an administrative rule change. The agency must respond to any such request and inform a committee of the General Assembly about the request and their response. Under current law, these administrative rules can stay on the books of a state agency indefinitely. HB 1135 also requires all administrative rules to sunset after 10 years. By including the sunset provision, all rules will have to pass through the public comment process periodically, providing citizens a say in how our executive departments run.
HCS HB 1140 is also sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-150). Currently, information about state spending is available on line at the Missouri Accountability Portal. HB 1140 requires counties and schools to submit their debts and holdings to the Office of Administration for posting on the portal. This gives taxpayers a one stop shop for tracking how their state and local tax dollars are being spent, expanding the information available to them. Under this proposed legislation, school districts and public charter schools must annually collect and submit detailed employee compensation data and the district’s annual operating budget and bonded indebtedness to the Office of Administration for inclusion. HB 1140 also requires each county to collect and annually transmit to the Office of Administration for inclusion on the portal detailed compensation information for all elected county officials, a copy of the detailed financial statement that counties are currently required to publish, and any cash reserves.
Until our next update, I am, and remain, in your service.