HB 831, Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives Special License Plate

My first piece of legislation will become law as soon as the Governor signs it. I have written about this before when I added it to SB 330 and it was passed. That was great, but it is even better that my version, HB 831 was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed this week.

When I was approached about carrying this piece of legislation, I was honored. These workers are our unsung heroes. They are the other “First Responders”. They are out in all types of weather making sure our lights are on, i.e. Ice storms, thunderstorms, summer heat. We can always count on these linemen.

HB 831 establishes an “Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives” special license plate. The plate requires an annual emblem-use authorization fee of $25, paid to the Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives, in addition to the $15 special personalized license plate fee and other requirements and fees as provided by law. The bill also establishes a “Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities” special license plate. The plate requires an annual emblem-use authorization fee of $25, paid to the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities, in addition to the $15 special personalized license plate fee and other requirements and fees as provided by law. Supporters say the bill would help support training programs for linemen who work all hours of the day to provide reliable electric service.

General Assembly Gives Final Approval to Balanced State Operating Budget (HBs 1-13)

A balanced state budget that contains record funding for elementary and secondary education is now on its way to the governor’s desk. This week the Missouri House and Senate gave final approval to the appropriations bills that make up the $29.7 billion state spending plan that provides funding to the state’s departments and programs.

For the third consecutive year, the budget approved by the General Assembly fully funds the school foundation formula with a total of $3.94 billion in funding. The total represents an increase of more than $61 million and brings the amount of funding for K-12 public schools to its highest level in state history. The education budget also includes a $5 million increase for a total of $108 million in funding for transportation expenses for local school districts. Additionally, the budget includes a $3 million increase for the Parents as Teachers program. In total, funding for pre-K-12 education is increased by $116 million in the spending plan approved by the legislature.

In the budget process, the General Assembly agreed to provide an additional $1 million in core funding for most of the state’s four-year colleges and universities. During the discussion on higher education funding, House members also fought to preserve language that prevents colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to students with unlawful immigration status. The language was placed in the budget in 2015 in an effort to ensure taxpayer dollars are used only for students who are legal residents. While the Senate initially moved to remove the language, the House fought to keep it, and the two legislative bodies ultimately agreed to the House position. As a result, these students will continue to pay international tuition rates. The language in the budget will also continue to prohibit institutions of higher learning from providing these students with state-sponsored scholarships.

The budget plan also makes it a priority to fund repairs for the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure. It includes critical funding that is part of a proposal to fix 250 bridges statewide. The budget contains $50 million in funding for the repairs, which would be used in conjunction with a $301 million bonding plan that still requires House approval and also requires the state to receive a sizeable federal infrastructure grant. In the budget, House and Senate members also agreed to allocate $50 million in funding for a cost-sharing program that will allow the state transportation department to provide a 50/50 match to counties and municipalities to improve local roads and bridges.