Capitol Report Patricia Pike

House Approves Tax Relief Package for Missouri Taxpayers 

Dear CitizensMissourians who pay income tax are one step closer to receiving substantive relief from their income tax burden. The Missouri House of Representatives this week approved legislation to create a one-time economic recovery tax credit for Missouri residents who paid personal income tax in the state for 2021.
The chairman of the House Budget Committee, who sponsors the bill, told his colleagues the plan came into being when he looked at the numbers following the House giving approval to the state budget. Despite the fact the House approved the largest budget in the state’s history, the state still had billions of dollars left in its coffers.
The sponsor told his colleagues, “This is an attempt to offset some of the tax burden for those state income taxpayers at a time where I think that they could use the money much better than the state government can.”
He added, “It’s a simple notion. We’re going to create a tax credit that would send a billion dollars back to taxpayers and offset their state income tax liability.”
HB 3021 will appropriate $1 billion from the state’s General Revenue Fund to fund a one-time economic recovery non-refundable tax credit. Under the plan, anyone filing an individual Missouri personal income tax return would receive a credit equal to their tax liability up to $500. Married couples filing jointly would receive up to a $1,000 credit. The credit is limited to individuals who were a Missouri resident for the entire tax year.
The vice-chairman of the House Budget Committee spoke in support of the proposal. He noted the budget plan approved by the House provides an immense amount of support for low-income Missourians, but said, “you know who we haven’t so much talked about, but here we’re talking about them here today in House Bill 3021, is that working Missourian – that man or woman working two, three jobs. There’s not been a lot of relief for them and here it is today. That’s why I’m so excited to support it.”
The chairman of the Budget Committee agreed that the budget approved by the House is “addressing the needs of low-income Missourians on a scale that we have never done before. It’s an unprecedented scale.” In reference to HB 3021, he said “This is a bill that would essentially give state revenues back to those that paid state revenues into the state treasury. We are in a situation where we have excess revenues in the state treasury, and to me that means it’s time to give some of those dollars back to those that paid it in, especially when they are facing challenges due to inflation and various economic factors.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. It must receive approval from both chambers by Friday, May 6, which is the deadline for all appropriations bills.
House Moves to Protect Missourians from Unapproved Vaccines (HB 1709)
The members of the Missouri House took action this week in an effort to protect Missourians from being forced to take vaccinations that have yet to receive full authorization.
HB 1709 provides it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for any government entity in the state to require any person to receive a medication, vaccination, or injection that has not been fully authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is allowed under an emergency use authorization, or is undergoing safety trials.
The bill’s sponsor, who also works in the health care field, told her colleagues she has personal experience with a workplace mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She said, “I’ll never forget the day that I received an email, it was actually on my birthday, stating that I had to get the vaccination or else I would lose my job. My issues with that was that it wasn’t fully FDA-approved.” She added, “There’s a lot of people that are scared when you’re told you have to get a vaccination. I am in no way, shape, or form against the COVID vaccination. I did personally receive the vaccination, but I waited until the Pfizer was FDA-approved before I went ahead and got it.”
The sponsor said her experience “really got me thinking about what happens in the future if something like this happens again and we’re forced to have to take a vaccination and it doesn’t make it across the finish line before my deadline.”
HB 1709 specifies that its provisions will not prohibit health facilities from requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order for a health facility to participate in a federal program or contract, and the provisions will not prohibit public colleges or universities from requiring select students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order for a college or university to receive federal funds.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Bills Sent to the Senate
HB 3017 re-appropriates approximately $438 million for ongoing projects around the state that have already been undertaken. Projects range from renovation and improvements of vocational technical schools to new facilities on college campuses to projects at veterans’ homes and cemeteries.
HB 3018 appropriates approximately $477 million for maintenance and repair of statewide facilities.
HB 3019 appropriates approximately $469 million to fund capital improvement projects around the state. The bill includes $65.5 million for National Guard facilities, $22.7 million for various parks and historic sites, $15 million for improvements for various conservation sites and facilities, $10 million for charter school deferred maintenance, and $300 million for the Missouri State Capitol Commission Capitol Preservation Fund.
HB 2152 provides a definition for “school innovation team” and for “school innovation waiver” and allows school innovation teams to submit a plan to the State Board of Education (SBE) for a state innovation waiver for a variety of purposes as outlined in the bill. Supporters say the bill provides an opportunity for schools to innovate without fear of repercussions in the accreditation process. Schools that use these waivers might pilot new programs that will benefit their students and provide additional flexibility to explore opportunities in education that will address student’s needs.
HB 2372 modifies the provision regulating capitol parking garages. Currently, the parking garages located on the northeast and northwest capitol complex grounds are under the joint control and operation of both houses of the General Assembly. When the General Assembly is not in session, state employees are allowed to park in the northwest garage. This bill removes that state employee parking provision and places the parking garages under the joint control of the General Assembly year round. Supporters say the bill would bring statute in line with current practice.
HB 2625 allows certain individuals holding a valid current professional license in another state or territory of the United States to practice such profession in Missouri, without obtaining a Missouri license, as part of a partnership with the federal Innovative Readiness Training program within the United States Department of Defense. Such individuals must be active duty or reserve members of the Armed Forces of the United States, members of the National Guard, civilian employees of the United States Department of Defense, or professionals otherwise authorized by the United States Department of Defense and their practice of the profession in Missouri must be required by the federal Innovative Readiness Training program under military orders. Supporters say that with a partnership through the US Department of Defense (DOD), the Delta Regional Authority supports the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program that would bring medical, dental and vision care to Delta residents in southeast Missouri at no cost. The DOD needs legislation to allow the members of the military to practice in Missouri with their credentialing orders, to provide the health care services in underserved areas.
HB 1696 modifies provisions relating to the illegal discharge of firearms. Currently, a person commits the offense of unlawful use of a weapon if they discharge or shoot a firearm from a motor vehicle. This bill allows the discharge of a firearm from a stationary vehicle as authorized under the Missouri Wildlife Code. The bill also establishes “Blair’s Law” which provides that a person commits the offense of unlawful use of a weapon if, with criminal negligence, they discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality. Supporters say farmers and ranchers need to have the ability to protect their livestock from predatory animals without the fear of being charged with a felony offense. The bill would allow them to do just that. In addition, owners of firearms need to act responsibly with the weapons. Celebratory gunfire can injure or kill innocent people. The bill establishes consequences for celebratory gunfire.
HB 2574 requires scrap metal dealers and others regulated under state law to require proof that the seller of a detached catalytic converter is a bona fide automobile repair shop or sign an affidavit that the converter was lawfully acquired. The make, model, year, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle from which the converter originated will be required and maintained for four years. The bill adds that a person commits the offense of stealing if they retain or dispose of the property of another while they reasonably should have suspected that such property has been stolen. Supporters say catalytic converter theft is a serious problem with the theft of catalytic converters on the rise in the state. These thefts are hurting a number of different businesses related to automobiles. This bill will help in reducing the amount of catalytic converter thefts and fraud.
HB 1629 designates June as “Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month” as well as several other state designations. Supporters say myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that weakens or destroys communications between nerves and muscle. This results in weakness of the muscles and rapid fatigue. Designating June as “Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month” will result in greater education and understanding of this disorder, encouraging participation and support for efforts in researching and combating the disorder. The bill further designates several state designations.
HB 2566 allows the director of the Department of Commerce and Insurance to issue a limited lines travel insurance producer license to a person or business entity that has filed an application approved by the director. The bill also allows any person who is already licensed in a major line of authority as an insurance producer to sell, offer, negotiate or solicit travel insurance. Supporters say many states are already starting to do this. This is basic insurance which doesn’t require as much training to sell it.
HB 2493 expands on the criteria for career ladder admission and stage achievement. Additional responsibilities and volunteer efforts outside of compensated hours may include uncompensated coaching, supervising, and organizing extracurricular activities, serving as a mentor or tutor to students, additional teacher training or certification, or assisting students with college or career preparation. The bill increases the state percentage of funding for salary supplements for career ladder from 40% to 60% and lowers the number of years before a teacher is eligible from five to two years. Supporters say the bill rewards teachers for taking extra time working with students, fostering community engagement and professional development of students. It would increase interaction time between parents and teachers filling the gap of learning loss that is being experienced currently. The bill also provides bankruptcy protection for the Missouri Education Savings Program and the Missouri Higher Education Deposit Program also known commonly as 529 education savings accounts.
HB 2365 removes the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Social Services from the program collaboration as their prior role is now combined in the Office of Childhood under the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The bill removes the label of pilot program from the early learning quality assurance reporting program and authorizes the program to provide continuous improvement and ongoing updated consumer education. The bill also removes the sunset provision. Supporters say making the learning quality assurance report program permanent will allow parents to continue to be empowered with the tools to make informed decisions about their childrens’ opportunities. The program enables providers to implement best practices and gives them access to resources that will help build high-quality options for families.
HB 2571 grants the Division of Finance (DOF), within the Department of Commerce and Insurance the authority over the laws relating to persons and entities engaged in the following: (1) Banks, trust companies and the banking business. Currently the Division has regulatory authority over these entities. (2) Mortgage loan business; (3) Any other financial-services-related business over which the Division is granted express authority. The bill grants the director discretionary authority to issue bulletins regulating the businesses, which do not have the force or effect of law and are not regarded as statements of general applicability for rule promulgation. Supporters say DOF is being authorized to publish industry guidance letters in a timely fashion, to promote consistency and transparency, to enable the banks to develop their policies and procedures prior to DOF examination in order to achieve compliance. The non-bank consumer lenders will come under the purview of DOF. The bill also establishes the “Missouri Workplace Retirement Savings Plan” and the “Missouri Workplace Retirement Savings Board”. Additionally, the bill creates the “Commercial Financing Disclosure Law”, which provides bankruptcy protection for the Missouri Education Savings Program and the Missouri Higher Education Deposit Program also known commonly as 529 education savings accounts, adds damaging or making a “teller machine” inoperable to the offense of property damage in the first degree, and modifies the statute related to the offense of money laundering.
HB 2325 establishes the “Workforce Diploma Program” to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma and develop employability and career technical skills. Supporters say the bill improves job prospects to enable the students to get higher and better paying jobs. Over 445,000 adults in Missouri don’t have a diploma. Several other states have adopted the program. There is a need to upskill Missourians and this program will help train the workforce. The bill also establishes the “Extended Learning Opportunities Act” and allows synchronous instruction connecting students to a live classroom in a Missouri adult high school to be treated the same as in-person learning.
HB 2090 allows the salaries of state employees to be paid in biweekly installments, as designated by the Commissioner of the Office of Administration. Supporters say receiving a salary once a month is a burden for the state employees and many of the state employees have to work part-time jobs to supplement their income. The bill addresses the shortfall by paying the employees a biweekly salary thereby eliminating the need for the employee to make choices.
HB 1683 requires public institutions of higher learning to adopt and implement policies, as outlined in the bill, that will give undergraduate course credit to entering freshman students for each advanced placement (AP) examination upon which such student achieves a score of three or higher. Supporters say there are several bordering states that have a policy for acceptance of AP scores 3 and above and this attracts Missouri students to those universities. This would provide assurance to students taking these very difficult exams that they would receive university credit.

For more information, contact Representative Patricia Pike at or call 573-751-5388.