Patricia Pike Capitol Report

CAPITOL REPORT:  REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE                                                   

House Approves Second Amendment Preservation Act

Dear Citizens:  Members of the Missouri House gave approval to legislation (HBs 85 & 310) meant to protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. Known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act, the bill is meant to protect law-abiding gun owners from potential gun control legislation that could be passed in Washington, D.C.

It states that laws and other actions that prohibit the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition within Missouri exceed the powers granted to the federal government. It also declares that all federal laws, acts, and orders that infringe on Missourians’ second amendment rights are invalid in the state.

Additionally, the bill declares it is the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and states that no public officer or employee of Missouri or any political subdivision of the state can have authority to enforce or attempt to enforce federal laws that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. The bill has moved to the Senate.

House Committee Investigates Overpayment of Unemployment Benefits:  The House Special Committee on Government Oversight took testimony recently from Missourians who are being asked to repay unemployment benefits they received in error through no fault of their own.

The committee heard from Department of Labor Director Anna Hui, who told members the state issued approximately $150 million in “overpayments”. Hui explained overpayments are “kind of built into” the unemployment system. The Department is expected to make an eligibility determination and get a payment out to an applicant within 14 days, generally based solely on information provided by the applicant. As additional information comes in, often from the applicant’s current or past employers, it could prove he or she was not eligible.

Hui told the committee Governor Mike Parson has made clear that he wants the Department to seek collection of those overpayments, viewing them as taxpayer dollars that went to ineligible individuals.  Several members have already filed legislation to address the unemployment overpayments and more are developing legislative solutions.

New Office to Assist Missouri Children:  As the House worked in strong bipartisan fashion to support families who foster and adopt young people in need, the governor’s office announced a new office that will provide a comprehensive approach to early childhood care and education.

The new Office of Childhood represents the consolidation of several early childhood programs across state government. Housed in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the new office includes all state programs related to child care, home visiting, early learning, and early intervention. The Office of Childhood will consist of approximately 145 employees across the state. No state employee positions are being eliminated due to this consolidation. Current funding will remain unchanged for the programs involved as well as private child care providers and public schools