Good morning,

Long email, but important information from top to bottom for artists, arts leaders, and community supporters. ArtsKC wants to make you aware of several issues at the Missouri state level and national government level that are of critical import to our community.

Changes to Ballot Initiative Process
The Missouri House just passed two bills that—if they become law—could effectively end the ballot initiative process in Missouri.
The arts community, along with dozens of other activist communities, can currently use the ballot initiative process to allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on issues important to them and make swift, democratic changes to state law.

PLEASE consider sending a letter to your state senator NOW to stop the destruction of the ballot initiative process forever.

Here are the changes proposed in House legislation:
  • Shorten the period of time in which you can gather signatures
  • Increase the required number of signatures by hundreds of thousands
  • Require a ⅔ supermajority to pass, instead of a simple majority
  • Charge you a $500 fee just to start the process

This is an emergent issue that needs your attention immediately.

Anti-Protest Legislation
Missouri state senators have introduced legislation like MO SB26 that would affectively criminalize protestors and make it easier for prosecutors to get convictions against peacefully protesting Missouri citizens. America was born as a protest. Protest has been key to ending child labor, winning the right to vote, ending segregation and protecting workers. Bills that punish protest betray our history and undermine our freedom. Instead of these attacks on our freedom, legislators should ask themselves why are protests happening and address root causes, not shut down or punish us for speaking up.

Please use ArtsKC's Contact Congress page to find your state senator, get their contact information, and contact them letting them know of your opposition to any legislation that goes against the First Amendment and the basic right of Americans to peacefully protest. You can also use our Contact Information Spreadsheet and get the emails of all our area's state senators.

House Budget Committee to Begin Mark-Up
Please make sure you have made contact with your State Representative who will be voting on the State Budget request for the Missouri Arts Council. Governor Parson has recommended $4.8 million to fund MAC for FY2022.

The Missouri Citizens for the Arts is advocating for full funding for the Cultural Funding Formula collected from the non-resident professional athlete and entertainers tax. 60% of the amount collected last fiscal year would be $18 million.

You can sign up for MCA's Adopt-A-Legislator program on MCA's website www.mo4arts.org or go to the Missouri House of Representatives website

Again, use ArtsKC's Contact Congress page for contact information.

Senate Hears SB529 to Help Live Entertainment Venues
On Thursday, MCA's lobbyist Kyna Iman testified in support of Senate Bill 529, sponsored by Senator Mike Cierpiot.  This bill provides that, from August 28, 2021 to June 30, 2023, a retailer may retain the full amount of state sales or use tax on any sales of admission tickets to movies, films, concerts or other musical performances, and the concessions sold at those events.

The committee was very receptive. Cinema owners and Hollywood Casino Amphitheater also testified in support of passage. The Committee will vote March 25.

Members of the Committee are: Andrew Koenig, Bill Eigel, Lauren Arthur, Mike Moon, Cindy O'Laughlin, Bob Onder, and Steven Roberts. Contact Congress page for Senate contact information.
Updates on American Rescue Plan
Following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11th, dozens of federal agencies are already beginning to implement the $1.9 trillion of COVID health and economic relief aid to those in need, as outlined in our last Policy Alert. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will be hosting a free webinar to provide a comprehensive overview of these latest details on Thursday, March 18, 2021 @ 2PM CDT. Please register on the ArtsU platform.

Here are some important federal agency updates:
  • Check the direct stimulus calculator to see how much you may be eligible for based on your latest tax return for either 2019 or 2020. Then check the IRS payment status to see when you will be receiving your payment. IRS plans to get all payments out by the end of March.
  • Federal pandemic unemployment assistance of an additional $300 per week has been extended through Labor Day, September 6, 2021 for all W2, 1099, and self-employed individuals who are out of work. Be sure to update your weekly certifications. If your state experiences a delay in updating their portals, don’t worry, you will get the money you are owed retroactively.
  • The federal cultural agencies released FAQs and statements on their plans for distributing their portion of American Rescue Plan funds.
  • ​​​​​​NEA @ $135 million – grant applications available in late April
  • NEH @ $135 million
  • IMLS @ $200 million
  • CPB @ $175 million
  • SBA posted new Paycheck Protection Plan FAQs on 3/12/21. Please look at Question #66 if you are a self-employed Schedule C tax filer, who submitted a new PPP application before the new SBA Forms 2483-C or 2483-SD-C were issued on March 3rd, that qualifies you for a larger loan based on your gross income rather than net profits. The guidance in question #66 is primarily for those who have applied with the old form, but not yet received the PPP funds. Please know that we are also still advocating for the SBA to allow already-funded self-employed schedule C tax filers to request modifications to both their first and second draws based on gross income, instead of net profit…stay tuned. In order to secure the more favorable loan amount based on gross income for self-employed individuals, schedule C filers must make sure your lender supplies you with the correct forms listed above.
  • The current deadline for a bank/lender to submit your new PPP forgivable loan to the SBA is Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Because of the constantly shifting rules and stricter federal verifications to prevent fraud, banks have experienced long delays in processing applications to the SBA. Many large national banks have required much earlier deadlines for small businesses to submit their applications. Below are some helpful links to find possible alternative, smaller banks with later deadlines. You do not need to be a pre-existing client. Don’t forget, you can also use online PPP lenders like Paypal, Square, Kabbage, etc. (Note: Legislation is also moving through Congress this week to extend the PPP deadline by two months to May 31, 2021…stay tuned, but you should still proceed quickly to meet the March 31st deadline just in case.)
  • Approved PPP Lenders in your area
  • PPP Lender Match
  • Contact the SBA District Office for local assistance in your area
  • Good news for those who took out an Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) in 2020. EIDL loan repayment schedules have automatically been deferred by an additional 12 months. EIDL borrowers will not have to begin repaying their first installments until 2022.
  • SBA announced that its Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) application portal will open in early April. In the meantime, several documents have been updated on the SVOG website, but certain sections still state that you cannot apply for a PPP and an SVOG. That information is incorrect and will eventually be updated online. The SVOG new FAQs do make it clear that you can now apply for both a PPP and SVOG. However, please note the additional twist in question #5 on page 2 of the FAQs that you cannot apply for a PPP after receiving an SVOG. You will also see in question #17 on page 14 that the SBA has clarified that audits will NOT be required for the great majority of SVOG applicants.
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grants FAQs (revised 03-12-21)​​​​​
  • Eligibility requirements (published 03-05-21)​​​​​​
  • Preliminary application checklist (revised 03-11-21)
  • $350 billion in State and Local Block grants will be administered nationwide within the next two months. Many arts groups and artists benefitted with additional economic relief through these funds the last time it was administered with only $150 billion in CARES Act funds. Eligible uses specifically include assistance to small businesses, nonprofits and hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality. Check out the estimate of how much your state and county can expect to receive.

The March 18th webinar will be an overview of all the components of the American Rescue Plan. Please know that there is still a plan to have a standalone Shuttered Venues webinar in the coming weeks once more details are available from the SBA.
ArtsKC will continue to update you as we learn more and have more details.
Stay well,
​​Branden D. S. Haralson
Communications Manager,
Engagement & Public Policy
106 Southwest Blvd | Kansas City, MO 64108
C: 417.825.3302 | BHaralson@ArtsKC.org