Special Edition
Network Advocate
June 2019
2019 State Legislative Session Recap
Dear Members of the Missouri Community Action Network:
 
The 2019 state legislative session was a busy one for Missouri CAN. In fact, the First Regular Session of the 100th Missouri General Assembly that just concluded on May 17 had been on track to be one of the busiest legislative sessions for anti-poverty organizations in recent history. For the first half of the session, our Network and many other advocacy organizations were in the position of opposing multiple bills that could have been detrimental to low-income Missourians. However, the session took a turn about two-thirds of the way through, with legislators focused on revenue and tax issues, in addition to disagreements within the majority party. This dramatically slowed multiple pieces of bad legislation, but it also stalled legislation that would have helped Missourians in poverty.

A snapshot of some of the bills we followed closely this session is listed further below; detailed information was sent to agency Executive Directors/CEOs and Advocacy Points of Contact on a weekly basis throughout session. In addition to the list of bills we followed closely this past session, I have also included the annual legislative report from the association’s lobbyist and legislative analysis from the Missouri Budget Project. If you have any questions after reviewing this information, or cannot find details about a specific bill, please don’t hesitate to let me know. 

As Missouri CAN aims to strengthen our advocacy initiatives and grow advocates both within and outside our Network, our recurring theme for 2019 thus far has centered around “Developing Movement Makers.” From our Network Advocacy Day at the state capitol in March to the workshop held in February for CAA staff who are beginning advocates, and from our renewed efforts within the state capitol building to our mobilization on critical regulatory issues at the federal level, we are a Network on the move to make a difference through our advocacy and policy initiatives. 

With thanks for all your advocacy during the past legislative session!

Best,
Jessica Hoey
Director of Public Affairs and Community Engagement, Missouri CAN
Annual Legislative Report from
LuAnn Madsen, Missouri CAN Lobbyist

On Friday, May 17, the 100th Missouri General Assembly adjourned for its First Regular Session. With a new freshman class, the General Assembly was able to pass 94 bills of the 1,766 filed by both chambers. The Republican-controlled legislature moved some of its major initiatives forward during the final weeks, such as a prohibition on abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy; reining-in local control of large animal feeding operations; tort reform measures on establishing venue and joinder limitations; passing a $30 billion operating budget that includes fully funding K-12 education; $300M bonds for bridge repairs; and new economic development and workforce development incentives for job creation.

The General Assembly passed a $29.7 billion budget for FY20 that starts on July 1, 2019. This is almost a billion dollar increase in funding from the current fiscal year (FY2019 - $28.8 billion). The final version of the budget included pay raises for all state employees and an additional increase for correction officers. Mileage reimbursement rates were also increased from $0.37 to $0.43. Lawmakers also increased core funding for all public universities by $1 million, but Missouri State University received a $10 million increase. The K-12 foundation formula was fully funded for the third year in a row. Public schools' core funding increased roughly $60 million, from $3.49 billion in FY19 to $3.55 billion in FY20. Public school transportation saw a $5 million funding increase. The General Assembly also agreed to allocate $50 million in general revenue for an initial payment on a $301 million bond package for bridge repairs and another $50 million for a cost-share program with local municipalities to fund road repairs.
Other highlights include:

  • $5 million for rural broadband grants
  • $347,338 for industrial hemp program
  • $5 million for Department of Conservation to study chronic wasting disease
  • $6 million in SEMA grants for flood recovery
  • $5 million for alternatives to jail program for pre-trial electronic monitoring
  • 1.5 percent rate increase to Medicaid providers

The FY20 budget is based on a consensus revenue estimate increase of $193 million (2 percent growth). This was the first session for Governor Mike Parson (R), and now his staff will begin a thorough process of administrative review of all bills passed. The governor has 45 days from the constitutional adjournment (May 30, 2019) to take action on legislation, and this deadline is set for July 15. The governor has three options for action: he can sign the bill into law; veto the bill; or take no action and the bill will take effect. The Missouri General Assembly will return on September 11 for the constitutionally-required veto session.
State Legislation Closely Followed
First Regular Session
100th Missouri General Assembly

  • Senate Bill 4– SNAP Work Requirements / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Senator David Sater (R – District 29)

  • Senate Bill 28– Low-Income Housing Tax Credit / Followed
  • Sponsored by Senator Dan Hegeman (R – District 12)

  • Senate Bill 76– Medicaid Work Requirements / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Senator David Sater (R – District 29)

  • Senate Bill 183– Earned Income Tax Credit / Supported
  • Sponsored by Senator Lauren Arthur (D – District 17)

  • Senate Bill 208– Elimination of Circuit Breaker Tax Credit / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Senator Wayne Wallingford (R – District 27)

  • Senate Bill 209– Prohibits credit checks as a condition of employment / Supported
  • Sponsored by Senator Karla May (D – District 4) 

  • House Bill 6– Dept. of Natural Resources – LIHEAP Transfer to Weatherization / Supported
  • Sponsored by Rep. Cody Smith, Budget Chairperson (R – District 163)

  • House Bill 160– Authorizes a low-income rate for water and sewer service / Supported
  • Sponsored by Representative Jeff Knight (R – District 129)

  • House Bill 183– Requires MOHealthNet recipients to participate in a work program / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Representative Trent Curtis (R – District 133)

  • House Bill 291– Earned Income Tax Credit / Supported
  • Sponsored by Representative Bill Kidd (R – District 20)

  • House Bill 474– Modifies provisions for families receiving TANF / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Representative J. Eggleston (R – District 2)

  • House Bill 899– Modifies the timeframe to appeal landlord actions against tenants / Opposed
  • Sponsored by Representative Hardy Billington (R – District 152)

If you are interested in a deep dive of all bills Truly Agreed and Finally Passed (TAFP) provided by House Research, check out the TAFP report here.
Key Updates from Missouri Budget Project

Lawmakers Held the Line on Taxes:
As reported by the Missouri Budget Project, Missouri’s human service advocates were able to prevent movement on proposals that would have made Missouri’s tax structure even less fair and which would have harmed funding for the critical services our communities need to prosper. Unfortunately, the State Earned Income Tax Credit was caught up in that debate, and as a result, the EITC once again did not pass.
Tax Credits:
  • Fortunately, efforts to cut the Circuit Breaker (Property) Tax Credit for seniors and people with disabilities did not gain traction this year.

  • Unfortunately, however, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit did not pass. The good news is that Governor Parson has indicated he will restart the program regardless.

  • The most significant tax credit package approved was the GM Incentive, which also included a number of the governor’s priorities around workforce development. The final bill included:
  • A tax credit for GM of $5 million/year for 10 years; 
  • A “Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant” to provide scholarships for Missouri citizens to attend an approved Missouri post-secondary institution of their choice; and 
  • A provision to change Missouri One Start to Missouri Works, providing $106 million for job training and $10 million for infrastructure development.
Omnibus Bills:
With filibusters ending late Wednesday, May 15, the flood gates opened to a flurry of activity that created three large omnibus bills the last two days of session:
  • HB 397 Child Safety
  • HB 399 Healthcare
  • HB 604 Elementary and Secondary Education
Safety Net Policies:
In addition to proposals to mandate work requirements in Medicaid, lawmakers considered proposals that would have enacted harsher work reporting requirements in SNAP and TANF cash bans. Fortunately, these did not pass. A  recent article documents evidence that such policies do not actually help people gain employment.
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