It’s been a fun and somewhat controversial week in the Capitol.  I’ll mention in this Report a few of the bills that have been making the news.
First, lets talk about HB 334 which I co-sponsored in the House.  In November of 2016, Missouri voters approved a new constitutional provision (Article VIII, Section 11) requiring individual voter identification and verification, and authorized “valid government-issued photo identification.”  To implement and require “valid government-issued photo identification” under this constitutional provision, enabling legislation is required.  HB 334 will do just that and will enable photo voter identification in Missouri. This bill will improve election integrity in Missouri.  Voter fraud is very difficult to prove when you can’t say and really don’t know who actually did vote.  This past week HB 334 passed out of the House.
Next, I’ll address HB 349.  If eventually passed, this bill will appropriate more state money for local public schools to help pay for student busing.  After checking with the experts and based on a percentage of the total school bus transportation costs for each school, Willow Springs School District will receive approximately $102,000 additional funds for bus transportion, Bakersfield $43,000 more, Koshkonong $23,000 more, and West Plains $149,000 more in state funding.
If a second part of HB 349 is passed, the bill will also provide school scholarships to help kids in some of the poorest metropolitan areas in the state.  Locally, we are blessed to have both great public and private schools, but some places don’t. In some areas and for a very long time, the school graduation rates in a few public schools have been very bad. This bill is intended to help families that cannot afford to send their kids to a different school the opportunity to do so, but regardless, this part of House Bill 349 does not apply to our local schools.  By specific terms, the bill limits its application to schools in towns greater than 30,000 in population.
To explain further, the original bill as written by Representative Phil Christofanelli (District 105) allowed the scholarship to be available statewide, but he agreed to change his language adding this 30,000 town restriction because of intense pressure from some school districts.  He had to compromise to get any version of the bill passed.
This bill does help families meeting federal poverty guidelines in bigger areas allowing their kids to apply for scholarships to attend a more successful private school in their area.  Most of those funds will come from private donations, but arguably, not all.  By amendment, it also creates a 5-year safety window for those bigger school districts to maintain state funding at the same level for an additional 5 years. 
Some folks might not agree with the final goal of this bill which is to allow kids in the poorest metropolitan areas at least the fighting chance to get a better education.  I’m not sure why, but it is my understanding that some lobbyists and special interest groups still oppose even this watered down version.  Cowering to lobbyists is not acceptable.  To me, helping kids pass high school especially in areas where they largely don’t is a good thing.  
I will always support our great local teachers laboring long and hard  always putting our kids first. I strongly believe that receiving a quality education is vitally important to all students even those not being blessed to live in the Ozarks. By the slimmest of margins this bill passed the House but still has to pass through lengthy debate in the Senate.  I’d like to hear what you think?
And to close, I’ll highlight HB 1242  which I filed and sponsor.  A few years back and before my time at the Capitol, a bill known as “Raise the Age” was passed and signed into law.  It set an effective date for the new law to be January 1, 2021, but it also made provisions of the new law subject to appropriation of necessary funds.  When effective, this law will raise the age a person can be charged as an adult for criminal purposes from age 17 to 18.  For kids under that age, a teenager is by law treated as a child, and when in trouble, he or she goes to juvenile court not to adult court (unless certified to stand trial as an adult).
Because of bad drafting in the original bill, there now is big legal dispute in the state about whether or not that age change became effective at the beginning of this year.  Some counties are enforcing the change (raising the age), but most are not, arguing necessary funding was never appropriated.  HB 1242 will clarify several juvenile code provisions including the effective date of the raise the age law.
This is really important not only for charging purposes (adult or juvenile court) but also because many laws forbid placing children into adult jails and adults into juvenile detention facilities.  Legally, we simply shouldn’t treat a person as an adult at 17 in someplaces in Missouri  and an adult at 18 in others.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Although reasonable minds might differ as to whether any change in law from 17 to 18 should have originally been done, It’s my hope that this bill will pass and fix the goof-up in the old bill language that is a causing so many problems. 
If you have other concerns and suggestions, please let me know.  I look forward to continuing to represent your common sense, conservative values.  If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or my office email at  
Best regards,
David Evans
Missouri State Representative
District 154

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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