by Rep. Greg Sharpe

This week the Senate agreed to pass HB 926, a bill which allows use of specified motor vehicle dealer license plates on cars used by customers while their vehicles are being serviced or repaired by the motor vehicle dealer. However the bill also establishes an “Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives” specialty license plate, a provision I had been pushing for in my bill; HB 813. I’m happy that I was able to get this specialty license plate provision passed even if it did mean working with another legislator to roll it into their bill. This legislation is meant to educate the public on the importance of rural and municipal electrical linemen and women who go out in the darkest of nights and in the harshest conditions in order to keep the lights on in our homes. I wanted to have this specialty plate commissioned as a way of saying thank you for all these guys and gals do to keep our homes powered during the harshest of conditions.

House Gives Initial Approval to Legislation Meant to Strengthen Ethics Reforms and Improve Redistricting Process (HJRs 48, 46 & 47)

Members of the Missouri House want to give voters an opportunity to strengthen and change some of the provisions contained in the Clean Missouri constitutional amendment that was approved last November. Lawmakers gave first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters say would clarify and improve the ethics reforms and redistricting process put in place by Clean Missouri.

The sponsor of the legislation said his proposal is meant to give voters a choice with clear ethics reform and a much better way to draw districts where communities and families mean something. He said about the redistricting process outlined in the bill, “This offers a better solution to keep the districts and the communities together through a bipartisan process so more people have a seat at the table to say how we draw these lines.”

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Prohibit all gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. The current version of Clean Missouri allows for gifts of under $5;

Lower campaign contribution limits for state senate candidates to $2,000. Clean Missouri set limits for state senate candidates at $2,500;

Create bipartisan citizens commissions to draw redistricting maps. Clean Missouri currently calls for an independent state demographer appointed by the State Auditor to oversee the redistricting process; and

    Establish criteria that ensure the redistricting process is compliant with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, that it provides communities of interest with representation and participation in the political process, and that it produces districts that are compact and contiguous and achieve partisan fairness.

The sponsor concluded by saying, “What we offer here today is a more complete version of ethics reform. It is a sincere gift ban. It provides far better transparency and fairness in drawing the districts with the priority of keeping communities together.”

The legislation now requires another vote in the House before moving to the Senate. If approved by both chambers, it would go on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval.

Missouri General Assembly Honors Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans

The halls of the Missouri State Capitol were filled with hundreds of the state’s greatest heroes this week as the Missouri House of Representatives held a special ceremony in recognition of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War.

Legislators gathered in the first floor rotunda of the State Capitol to remember and recognize the courage and unwavering patriotism of the valiant individuals who served during the Vietnam War. The event was created to recognize Vietnam-era veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. All those in attendance also paused to remember those who have been lost, including POWs and those who are still listed as MIA.

Governor Mike Parson and Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe participated in the event and offered words of support and appreciation for all of the veterans in attendance. The governor also presented an official proclamation in recognition of the “valiant men and women who served our country in the Armed Forces; protecting our rights, our freedoms, our ideals, and our hopes.”

 The Missouri House of Representatives has a proud tradition of recognizing and honoring the service of Vietnam Veterans. In 2012 the state legislature passed legislation to establish a Vietnam Veterans Day, which takes place on March 30, and has held ceremonies each year in the State Capitol to pay tribute to the service and sacrifices of the heroes who served during the Vietnam War.

The ceremony can be viewed online at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/mogov/videos/2131908863555238/