SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCED
Dear Citizens: Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women, set to graduate from high school at the end of this year, to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects students from Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the awards.
The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus created the senior scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students on the basis of leadership, academics and community service. Candidates must fill out an application and are required to submit a 500-word essay answering the question, “If you were a state legislator, what would you hope to accomplish and why?”
The submission deadline is Wednesday, March 31, 2021, and the group will select recipients and then hold a reception in their honor on Monday, April 19 at a reception at the Missouri State Capitol. A link to download the scholarship is located at: https://stlouisgraduates.academicworks.com/opportunities/4078. For further information, please contact 573-751-5388.
Moving to the Senate for Debate:
House Moves to Forgive Unemployment Overpayments (HBs 1083, 1085, 1050, 1035, 1036, 873 & 1097): Thousands of Missourians who received unemployment overpayments would have the federal portion of their debt forgiven under legislation approved this week by the House. The bill would ensure Missourians who received the overpayments non-fraudulently do not have to repay the federal dollars they received.
Because the state’s Department of Labor was inundated with requests for unemployment benefits during the pandemic and was rushing to get payments processed, the department sent out approximately $146 million in unemployment benefits to 46,000 Missourians who didn’t qualify. Those who received the aid went on to spend it on rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other necessities. Months later the state sent notice to these individuals that the aid they received had to be repaid. The average repayment amount was in the thousands of dollars.
The bill passed by the House would instruct the department to waive repayment of the federal portion of the overpayments for those who received them non-fraudulently. If the department determines a recipient received money through fraud, those overpayments would not be waived. Under this bill, the department would still seek repayment of the state portion of the overpayments. However the repayments would be made without interest and without penalties and the department would work out an affordable payment plan with each recipient. In effect, the state portion will end up being a zero interest loan.
The bill’s sponsor said approximately 75 percent of the $146 million in overpayments is federal, and repayment on those funds will be forgiven. He said, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to use state employees and state resources to recoup money from our citizens only to send that money to Washington D.C., especially when the feds aren’t asking for it back.”
HB 63 (Pike) adds powdered alcohol to the definition of intoxicating liquor used in state liquor control laws. Supporters say powdered alcohol presents unique medical risks because it is more heavily concentrated and not absorbed the same way as liquid alcohol. Proponents also worry that teens can readily conceal and abuse powdered alcohol.
HB 357 allows cottage food production operations to sell food over the Internet. Currently, cottage food production operations must have an annual gross income of $50,000 or less and are prohibited from selling food through the Internet. This bill removes the cap on annual gross income and the prohibition on online sales, provided that the cottage food production operation and purchaser are both located in Missouri. Supporters say the bill would open up new markets across the state to those who operate a cottage food production operation and provide more opportunities to sell their products. During the current pandemic, if cottage food production operations were able to sell to consumers online, it would have made it easier for people to both sell and purchase these products while social distancing.
For further information contact Representative Pike at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-5388.