Capitol Report: Patricia Pike

JEFFERSON CITY:  Bills are beginning to flow from committees to the House Floor for debate.  The House has given first-round approval to legislation that would prohibit prisoners from having cell phones in a prison or jail. Supporters say the bill is necessary to prevent illicit communications between inmates and other individuals. They say cell phones in prison are a problem and are often used for drug deals.

“We are having an issue with cell phones and sim cards getting into our prisons and prisoners being able to have unmonitored conversations that put our Department of Corrections employees and our communities at risk,” said the bill’s sponsor.

Under current law, it is unlawful to possess, deliver, deposit, or conceal certain items in a prison or jail. Prohibited items include guns, knives, or other weapons. The bill (HB 1296) approved by the House would add two-way telecommunications devices and their component parts to the list of prohibited items.

House Sends Bill (HB 1467) to Senate to Improve Local Government Retirement System – The House has approved legislation to modify the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement system (LAGERS) member employer contribution elections for retirement benefit funding. Lagers is a retirement system created in the Missouri statute representing over 750 employers within the state which include counties, cities, villages, fire protection districts, health centers and hospitals.

Currently, an employer can elect to cover the full cost of funding the retirement benefit of its eligible employees or require all eligible employees to contribute 4 percent of their gross wages to help pay for the retirement benefit. The bill would expand the available contribution options by allowing employers to additionally elect a 2 percent or 6 percent contribution rate that all eligible employees would make to help pay for the retirement benefit. Supporters say the bill will allow employers, who are members of the LAGERS system, to have additional choices for developing a retirement plan for employees.    

Improving Security at the State Capitol (HB 1521)   House members gave their initial stamp of approval to legislation that is meant to create better safety and security in the State Capitol building and the state office complex. The bill would establish the Capitol Police Board to provide for public safety at the seat of government and for the safety and security of elected officials, government employees, and guests.

Contact my office at 573-751-5388 or e-mail at for more information on legislative topics or assistance on State Issues, Flags, Resolutions and Capitol visits.  Our office is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. year-round in Jefferson City, MO.