By Rick Francis
I’m pleased to share as this legislative session ends I was successful in getting 5 of my bills across the finish line. These bills were TAFP or Truly Agreed & Finally Passed:
1.SB 186 – defines penalties for ATM “smash & grab” crimes
2.SB 398 – because 1 out of 7 Missouri motorists are uninsured, this bill creates an online verification system to track and resolve the issues of uninsured motorists.
3.HB 202 – this bill removes the $750 fee for farmers and gives authority to regulate industrial hemp to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
4.SB 127 – names Perry County as part of the German Heritage Corridor
5. HB 644 – repeals provisions related to hemp extract
I was also able to help secure funding for the following projects:
1.Mayfield College – $2.3 million
2.Perry County Justice Center – $3.5 million
3.Perry County Memorial Wall – $7 million
4.No Till Drills - $75,000 (grant program allows up to $7,500 per county to buy or replace a no till drill)
5.The. Genevieve Dinosaur Museum – $500K
Highly Productive Legislative Session
The 2023 legislative session wrapped up the afternoon of Friday, May 12, lawmakers from both chambers left Jefferson City with a long list of accomplishments. During the session that began in January, House and Senate members worked on numerous policy proposals ranging from tax relief for seniors to improved access to health care to enhanced support for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. In total, the legislature gave final approval to more than 60 pieces of legislation.
The governor will now have the opportunity to act on the various bills sent to him. He has the option to sign bills into law or veto legislation he finds problematic. The legislature will return in September for an annual Veto Session in which members could potentially override any vetoes made by the governor.
Bills of Interest Passed During the 2023 Session Include:
•Providing Tax Relief to Seniors – SB 190 will provide substantive tax relief to Missouri’s older population. The legislation will eliminate the state income tax on social security benefits. It will allow all seniors regardless of their adjusted gross income or filing status to deduct 100% of their social security benefits.
Missouri is one of only 11 states in the country that still taxes social security. With the rising cost of consumer goods, it’s more important than ever to put money back in the pockets of Missouri’s seniors, particularly those on fixed incomes.
•Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act - SBs 49, 236 & 164 is legislation to protect Missouri’s children from unnecessary and harmful sex change drugs and surgeries. The SAFE Act would prohibit health care providers from performing gender transition surgery on young people under the age of 18. Until August 28, 2027, it would also prohibit a health care provider from prescribing or administering cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to a minor for a gender transition, unless the minor was receiving such treatment prior to August 28, 2023.
This is not against transgender people. This is to ensure that children do not make decisions that could affect the rest of their lives, that they may not have all the information, that all of us may not have all of the information, and we want to make sure that they get that information.
•Promoting Fairness for Female Student Athletes – SB 39 is meant to promote fairness in competition and opportunity for female student athletes. The bill would prohibit a private school, public school district, public charter school, or public or private institution of postsecondary education from allowing any student to compete in an athletics competition designated for the opposite sex, as determined by the student’s official birth certificate. The bill clarifies that biological sex is only correctly stated on birth certificates if it was entered at or near the time of birth or modified to correct scrivener’s error. The bill also makes it clear a female student may be allowed to compete in an athletics competition designated for male students if there is no such athletics competition for female students offered.
Common sense should tell us that biological males are bigger, stronger, and faster. The majority of women simply cannot compete. Years of competing against biological males will wipe out female sports as we know it. We must protect the gains women have made in the last 50 years.
•Attracting Economic Activity to Missouri - SB 94 would help attract revenue-generating film and entertainment projects to the state. Dubbed the “Show MO Act,” the legislation would establish tax credits for film projects.
Missouri currently lacks incentives to attract film and television projects, there is great business leaving our state. By passing the bill, we’re going to be an economic driver. There’s going to be a bunch of money coming into this state, and I believe this bill is a long time coming and we’re going to join the club of growth and economic opportunity.
•Expanding Access to Physical Therapy - HBs 115 & 99 and SB 51promote individual choice in health care decisions through the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations to allow patients to have direct access to physical therapy. The legislation would allow physical therapists with a doctorate of physical therapy or five years of clinical experience to evaluate and initiate treatment on a patient without a prescription or referral from an approved health care provider.
I supported this legislation which allows Missourians to have direct access to physical therapists. Currently, patients must visit a physician before they can make an appointment with a physical therapist. This costs the patient additional money and delays them from returning to their life before the injury.
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