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May 2011 e-Newsletter

The 2011 Legislative Session: Mixed Reviews

The slow recovery from the worst recession in most of our lifetimes provided the backdrop for the 2011 Legislative Session. Tax revenues slowly increased, but they remained inadequate to meet the needs of our state’s budget even with the added funds from the second year of the federal stimulus program. The Legislature spent most of its effort trying to maintain essential programs.

From my standpoint, the best part of the Session was the bipartisan work of the Budget Committee to do the best we could do to fund state programs in the face of very limited resources. We worked together––without partisan rancor––to fashion a budget that was “less bad” than we initially projected. In addition, your Boone County delegation, including Representatives Still, Webber, Quinn and Senator Schaeffer, worked together to champion local interests within the limited parameters of the budget. This cooperation resulted in additional resources (that is, smaller cuts) for higher education in general and MU in particular than we had originally anticipated.

Also in a positive tone, are the four bills that I sponsored that will become law, including the optional use of tax refunds to support the Organ Donor Program, the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, extension of the federally matched health care reimbursement allowance, and a major update of domestic violence laws.

The most frustrating outcome of the session is the failure of the citizens of Missouri, the Legislature, and the Governor to fund education at the level necessary for our children to compete successfully in the future. When compared with other states, Missouri’s support for education is near the bottom, whether we look at pre-school, K-12, higher education or graduate and professional education. We constantly talk about economic development, but we cannot compete economically without a first-class educational system. We need to get serious about funding education in Missouri.

Chris Kelly

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Four Kelly Sponsored Bills Set To Become Law

Four bills sponsored by Representative Kelly were passed by the Missouri Legislature in 2011. Summaries of the bills are below. Click on the link following the summary to read the complete text of each bill.

Tax Refunds for Organ Donations (Passed as HB 151)

Beginning in 2011, individuals and corporations may apply $2 (individual return) or $4 (joint return) of a tax refund to the Organ Donor Program Fund. Taxpayers may also donate to the Fund with a separate check. This provision will appear with other “check off “ options on the income tax form. The law will sunset after six years.


Amy Hestir Student Protection Act (Passed as SB 54)

With this act, a school district must forward any student-reported allegation of sexual misconduct by a teacher or other school employee to the Children’s Division within twenty-four hours, without first substantiating the allegation.

A school district that has employed a person for whom there was a substantiated finding by a Children’s Division investigation must disclose the finding to any other public school that contacts it for a reference. School Districts must also disclose to other districts if an employee resigned or was dismissed as a result of an allegation of sexual misconduct.

By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communication. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s parent or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a non-work-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.

The act also creates a Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children and prohibits registered sex offenders from filing as a school board candidate.


Federal Health Care Reimbursement Allowance  (Passed as SB 62)

Appended to this medical records act was the provision to extend the federal reimbursement allowance (FRA) taxes paid by hospitals and other health care institutions through September 30, 2015. The provider tax triggers a match from the federal government to the state that is used to support the state Medicaid program. Rep. Kelly sponsored the original FRA legislation during his previous stint in the Missouri House.  The program has subsequently brought billions of federal healthcare dollars to Missouri.

In addition, the act provides for transparency in medical billing. Beginning January 1, 2014, health insurance carriers shall allow a policyholder, upon request, to learn the amount of cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, under the policyholder’s plan or coverage that the individual would be responsible for paying for a specific item or service.

Finally, the act limits the fees that providers can charge to copy medical records.

Read the complete text of SB62

Domestic Violence and Orders of Protection (Passed as SB 320)

This act  provides consistency relating to adult and child orders of protection, including the definitions for “abuse”, “adult”, and “child”. This act provides that the grounds for issuing ex parte or full orders of protection for both adults and children include stalking. In addition, adult and child orders now both prohibit communicating with the petitioner. This act also provides for enhanced penalties for violating child orders of protection as with repeated violations of adult orders.

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Bills Sent to the Governor’s Desk for Signature

Of the 1,060 House bills and 477  Senate bills filed this session in the Missouri Legislature, 163 were Truly Agreed and Finally Passed.  To date, 12 bills have been signed into law by Governor Nixon, three were vetoed–with one override–and 148 await his action before the July 14 deadline.

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House Actions This Sessions

# House Bills Filed                                       1,060

# HBs Reported Do Pass                                214

# HBs Reported Do Pass Consent                100

# HBs Perfected                                              207

# HBs Third Read                                            111

# HBs Reported Do Pass in the Senate        161

# HBs Third Read in the Senate                      72

# HBs Truly Agreed & Finally Passed           102

There are 163 members of the Missouri House of Representatives. Of the 1,060 bills introduced this session, fewer than 10% were passed and delivered to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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From Others’ Perspective – The 2011 Legislative Session

Summaries of bills that passed or failed during the 2011 session, along with brief descriptions and commentary, can be found in:

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MISSOURI’S 2012 OPERATING BUDGET

(Before Governor’s Vetoes)


WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM

General Revenue………………………..$7,897,542,129

The main sources of General Revenue are: Individual Income

Tax; Sales & Use Tax; Corporate Income & Franchise Tax;

Insurance Premium Tax; and Liquor & Beer Tax.

Federal Budget Stabilization…………… $64,918,743

Federal Funds………………………….. $7,470,672,633

Other Funds……………………………..$7,800,223,709

Other Funds are resources dedicated to specific purposes.

Examples include: Highway & Road Funds; Proposition C &

Cigarette Tax; Lottery & Gaming Proceeds; and Conservation,

Parks, Soil & Water Funds.

Total Available after Refunds

$23,233,357,214





HOW EACH DOLLAR IS SPENT

Social Services…………………………………….35.0¢

(Includes MO HealthNet, Family Support, Children’s Division & Division of Youth Services)

Education……………………………………………27.6¢

Elementary & Secondary…………….(22.6¢)

Higher Education……………………….(5.0¢)

Transportation……………………………………… 9.7¢

Office of Administration &

Employee Benefits………………………………… 4.6¢

Mental Health………………………………………. 5.3¢

Corrections & Public Safety…………………….. 5.2¢

Health & Senior Services………………………… 4.2¢

Agriculture, Natural Resources &

Conservation…………………………………………2.2¢

Revenue……………………………………………….1.9¢

Elected Officials, Judiciary, Legislature &

Public Defender……………………………………..1.6¢

Economic Development………………………….. 1.1¢

State-wide Leasing…………………………………0.6¢

Labor & Industrial Relations…………………….. 0.5¢

Public Debt…………………………………………..0.3¢

Insurance, Financial Institutions &

Professional Registration…………………………0.2¢