Update on three of my bills:
1. My German Heritage Corridor legislation, HB 200, which adds Perry County to the existing corridor was voted out of Tourism committee unanimously and will now move to the Rules committee.
2. HB 487 designates the Missouri portion of the new bridge (Chester Bridge) on State Highway 51 as the “Don Welge Memorial Bridge”. HB 487 was voted unanimously out of the Transportation Infrastructure committee and now will go to Consent committee.
3. On Monday, February 27th, our Ste. Genevieve mining bill, HB 982, will be in Executive session in the Rural Community Development Committee. No testimony is allowed in Executive sessions, but the committee will vote on the bill.
Workforce Development Bill (HB 417)
This bill, subject to appropriations, would allow the Department of Economic Development to award grants to qualifying employers for each employee or prospective employee who obtains upskill credentials. Credentials under the program could include for example; manufacturing technology, cybersecurity, blueprint reading, medical assistants, pharmacy technician and medical records coding.
I think this program allows businesses to do something that is vitally important right now and that is to grow their own workers. Under the bill, the department could award up to $6 million per fiscal year for upskill training. Each employer could receive up to $2,000 for each employee who obtains upskill credentials. The bill would cap the total an employer could receive at $30,000 per fiscal year.
The funding, would also be distributed evenly among small, medium, and large employers. I wanted to make sure the mom and pop shops get a chance to upskill their workers just like the large corporations; to try to grow their own workers to make their business more successful.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Collection (HB 415)
Car buyers would pay their sales tax at the dealership rather than a Department of Revenue (DOR) fee office. With a first-round voice vote, we approved the bill that would streamline the process for consumers and help eliminate approximately 90 percent of the temporary tag abuse seen in the state.
The way the process will work is that you will go into the dealership, you’ll do all of your paperwork. You will leave with a temp tag, which will start the ball rolling for DOR to issue your plates and you will receive them in the mail.
The vehicle sales tax is the only sales tax not collected at the point of sale. This legislation would put Missouri in line with the other 47 states who require dealerships to collect the vehicle sales tax.
The bill now requires another vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
Improve Pay for Kansas City Police Officers (HBs 640 & 729)
This bill will help the Kansas City Police Department attract and retain the very best law enforcement personnel. By a vote of 151-3, the members of the Missouri House gave overwhelming bipartisan approval to allow the department to offer better pay to officers and the chief of police.
The bill would also eliminate the existing salary ceilings for police officers, computed according to rank, and empower the board to use the salary minimums as a base in pay ranges for officers in crafting their comprehensive pay schedule program.
To state it as simply as I can, we are transferring this power to the Kansas City Police Board of Commissioners. They will set the salary schedule. The hope is that they will set a compensation package that will give all officers up and down the line a pay increase and hopefully a very, very competitive salary schedule that will help with retention and recruitment for the Kansas City Police Department.
House Speaker Calls for Immediate Resignation of St. Louis Circuit Attorney
Following the horrific tragedy suffered by a young woman visiting St. Louis for a volleyball tournament, House Speaker Dean Plocher joined Attorney General Andrew Bailey and other elected officials to call for the immediate resignation of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
Janae Edmondson, who was visiting St. Louis from Tennessee, was stuck and severely injured in a collision caused by a motorist who had repeatedly violated his bond conditions on earlier charges. The accident resulted in the teenage volleyball player having both of her legs amputated. Elected officials from both parties responded to the tragedy with thoughts and prayers for Edmondson and her family, but also with outrage that Gardner’s office had failed to keep the motorist, who caused the accident, off the streets.
We have already supported legislation (HB 301) to help deal with the rampant crime problem in St. Louis. The bill would allow the governor to appoint a special prosecutor to deal with the enormous backlog of unprosecuted criminal cases in a city that is considered one of the nation’s most dangerous.