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Capitol Report

Greetings from Jefferson City. With just a little more than a week before the constitutional deadline to approve a state operating budget, key members of the House and Senate are now headed to conference to work out the final details for the spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
It was on March 30 that the House gave its stamp of approval to the appropriations bills that make up the state budget. The plan as approved by the House checked in with a funding total of $45.6 billion. The Senate then took the House plan and spent the last few weeks making several key changes. The version of the budget approved by the Senate increases state spending by more than $4 billion. As it returned to the House the Senate-approved plan checked in at a total of approximately $50 billion.
Budget leaders from the House and Senate will now meet in conference committees to iron out the differences in the two spending plans. One of the key differences in the two plans is funding for the expansion of Interstate 70. The House opted not to include funding for the plan in the state operating budget, but instead placed the $859 million requested by the governor in a separate capital improvements project bill that also included another $180 million for other road projects. The Senate plan allocates more than $2.8 billion for the Interstate 70 project and utilizes bond debt to provide $1.4 billion of that funding. The two chambers will now need to work to reach an agreement on the total amount allocated to the project and whether to issue bonds to provide a portion of the funding.
The Senate made several other changes to the House budget that members from both chambers will discuss. Among other items, the Senate added nearly $462 million to raise rates paid to agencies that care for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as $300 million to build a new psychiatric hospital in Kansas City. Additionally, the Senate authorized $29 million to boost the minimum school teacher salary to $38,000. The members of the Senate also added $43 million to build a new veterinary hospital and $25 million to construct a research slaughterhouse at the University of Missouri.
House and Senate members will conference on the budget next week to iron out the final version of the state spending plan. The two chambers have until Friday, May 5 to give final approval to the bills that make up the state operating budget.
SB 187 modifies various provisions relating to financial affairs. Under current law, the state treasurer is permitted to invest in linked deposits in an amount up to $800 million at any one time. This act increases that threshold to $1 billion. Furthermore, the act modifies the total deposit for linked deposits that may be used for different borrowers. This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to convene a work group to develop and recommend academic performance standards relating to the one-half unit of credit in personal finance required for high school graduation. This act establishes the Show-Me My Retirement Savings Plan, which creates new provisions relating to retirement savings plans for private-sector employees. This act modifies various provisions relating to the regulation of certain financial institutions. This act creates the "Commercial Financing Disclosure Act". Under this act, any person who consummates more than 5 commercial financing products, as defined in the act, to a business located in this state in a calendar year is required to make certain disclosures to the business with regard to the product. This act adds to the offense of property damage in the first degree if such person knowingly damages, modifies, or destroys a teller machine or otherwise makes it inoperable. A number of additional provisions were added to the bill during discussion on the House floor.
As a former small business owner I love SB 222 which modifies provisions relating to political subdivisions. This act establishes the "Protecting Missouri's Small Businesses Act" which provides that any political subdivision that implements any shutdown order and the business closes solely due to such shutdown order for at least 21 consecutive days or 45 cumulative days shall waive the fee for a business license during the period of the shutdown order and reduce the real and personal property tax liability of the business as provided in the act. This act prohibits library boards from overruling the recommendations of a county planning commission or a township planning commission relating to county or township improvement plans. This act provides that no county, municipality, or political subdivision shall impose or otherwise enforce a moratorium on eviction proceedings unless specifically authorized by law. This act modifies the definition of "video service" for provisions of law relating to video service providers and such definition now specifically excludes streaming content. The act authorizes the board of trustees of a consolidated public library district to change the dates of the fiscal year. This act provides that no political subdivision shall require an owner of residential property to have a home inspection conducted prior to the sale of the property, unless such inspection requirement is for new construction or occupancy permits. A number of additional provisions were added to the bill during discussion on the House floor.
Chris Harlin, Bill Trivitt, Corey Hillhouse and Garett Chapman from Century Bank of the Ozarks came by the office to discuss HB 1109 which raises the aggregate amount that the state treasurer may invest in linked deposits, such that the total amount deposited at any one time does not exceed $1 billion. Currently, the cap is $800 million. The bill specifies that the aggregate deposits shall be used for linked deposits to eligible small businesses in addition to the businesses currently allowed. Currently, there is a maximum dollar amount that can be deposited in linked deposits applicable to the various businesses, this bill changes the maximum to a percentage of the aggregate deposit. Supporters say last year there was $1.4 billion in deposits and 781 loans were made of which 42 loans were to women owned businesses, agriculture, small business and industry. The needs of small businesses and agriculture has grown. Businesses need the ability to have loans to improve Missouri's economy. This bill is helpful to all participants and is important to borrowers and farmers and ranchers. Further, the risk is with the lenders and not the State Treasurer. This program was originally started by former State Treasurer Wendell Bailey over 30 years ago and is still going strong.
These last two weeks will be like a log jam breaking in the river as the bills that have been held up by the Senate move back into the House. Then I can get back home and continue working with constituents back in the district. It will be nice to come home. Until then please call us at 573-751-2042 or email and we will be happy to help any way we can. God bless.
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Howell County News

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