House Bill 1647, Third Read and Passed
We third read and passed HB1647 which deals with the protection of private property rights. This was to prevent infringement on the legitimate private property rights of Missouri citizens through the efforts of Agenda 21, a United Nations initiative. It passed with 99 Ayes and 46 No's along party lines. I was an Aye.

House Bill 1647, Third Read and Passed
  We third read and passed HB1647 which deals with the protection of private property rights. This was to prevent infringement on the legitimate  private property rights of Missouri citizens through the efforts of Agenda 21, a United Nations initiative. It passed with 99 Ayes and 46 No's along party lines. I was an Aye.

May is STROKE Awareness Month

   With stroke being the leading cause of serious long-term disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, I presented the Missouri Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate with a Courtesy Resolution highlighting May as Stroke Awareness Month.
  Senate Concurrent Resolution 32 - This resolution has Missouri join with national and state stroke awareness and prevention organizations in the month of May to observe Stroke Awareness Month. This bill was voted out of my committee, Health Care Policy on Wednesday, April 30th. I will be the house handler on this bill.
HB 2238, Hemp Oil Extract, is now awaiting the Governor's signature.

  House Bill 2238, allows Hemp Oil Extract to be commercially grown and dispensed for individuals that suffer from intractable epilepsy.
  Under the bill, the state would partner with a non-profit group to make the CBD oil available to patients, and the hemp plants would be regulated and tested by the Department of Agriculture. CBD oil contains almost no THC, and therefore cannot get a user “high.”
  Patients would only have access to CBD oil if they have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy — which is defined as epilepsy that has not responded to at least 3 forms of medication.

Governor Veto's Tax Cut Bill

  Last week I wrote about the scare tactics the Governor was using along with an overview from former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Price. Below is more facts for your review.

  The Truth about Tax Relief for Missouri Families and Businesses
  In an attempt to hide the fact that he opposes much-needed tax relief for Missouri families and businesses, Governor Nixon has once again embarked on a smoke and mirrors campaign designed to fabricate non-existent flaws in the tax cut bill approved by the Missouri General Assembly.
   The governor has been disingenuous with the people of Missouri as he has claimed the bill would eliminate the top income tax bracket and cut taxes by $4.8 billion annually.
   The truth is that SB 509 represents a well-reasoned, responsible approach to tax relief for ALL Missourians.
  The Facts on SB 509
  SB 509 will responsibly cut the tax burden on Missouri families and businesses by $620 million annually while also safeguarding funding to vital state services such as education.

    Individual Income Taxes:

    SB 509 reduces individual income taxes by one half percent over a period of five years beginning in 2017

    Small business income tax deduction:

    Beginning in 2017 small businesses will be allowed to deduct a maximum of 25 percent of business income over a period of no less than 5 years
    This tax cut is specifically structured to ease the tax burden for small businesses
    Small businesses make up more than 90 percent of our employers in the state, and this tax cut is specifically tailored to allow those employers to thrive and grow

    Tax cut for low-income Missourians:

    SB 509 will increases the personal income tax exemption amount by $500 for those whose adjusted gross income is less than $20,000

    The tax benefits of SB 509 are triggered when the highest net GR collected in the previous three fiscal years is exceeded by at least $150 million.
    Beginning in 2017, SB 509 also requires brackets of Missouri taxable income to be adjusted for inflation.

House Passes Education Reform Proposal
  Education policy in Missouri has long been a topic of discussion.  That discussion grew louder this year as the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law which provided that children living in failing school districts could transfer to a different public school in a neighboring district.  At the forefront of the debate were unaccredited Normandy School District and Riverview Gardens School District, where according to DESE statistics the graduation rates in 2013 were 53.3% and 69.5%, respectively.  These districts are clearly failing at their mission of educating students.  The solution, however, is not as simple as it may seem.
   Is Money The Answer?
   We don’t believe it is.  In fact, legislative appropriations have continued to increase to record levels while Republicans have been at the helm of the state budget.  While certain factions of the legislature decry funding for education as the sole dilemma – we know other examples in Missouri districts and in other states that per pupil funding amounts don’t necessarily mean “better education”.  The legislature did, however, respond to Normandy’s need for additional revenue to help pay for its students to travel to an accredited district.
   The “Do Nothing” Approach Isn’t Working
   We know that something must be done to support kids in struggling school districts.  Simply put, education is the most pivotal determinant of future prosperity in a young person’s life.  While the adults have been arguing about what is best or what doesn’t work, many district have gone to provisionally-accredited and unaccredited status.  Lost in this debate are the children who are in these failing schools, children having to leave their communities, children needing a better education – trying to break the cycle. Doing nothing is not an option. While even in a failing school children are in a relatively safe place, a place where they are looked after, kept warm or cool, and where they can have one good meal a day. We can do better than this and more is required. This bill is a first step.
   Statewide, our public school graduation rate is just above 80%, but it should be much better than that.  The proposal advanced by the House adds hours in the classroom, modifies summer school requirements, streamlines charter school expansion and allows charter schools to accept transfer students, offers free tutoring in unaccredited districts, and gives parents in Jackson County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City the possibility to move their child (children) to non-parochial private schools in the event their district is faltering.
   In short, the House passed a multi-faceted policy change that is aimed at tackling an incredibly complex problem.  Missouri’s students deserve a legislature that is responsive not just to the dynamic lobbying core that represents administrators and teacher unions, but one that is responsive to the needs of the children and families who wake up in failing districts each day.  Zip codes shouldn’t predetermine whether or not education is a possibility and Missouri’s House continued to support that idea this week on the House floor.
Rural Healthcare and Assistant Physicians
  I have been successful getting my bill House Bill 1842 amended on to two bills that are moving through the legislative process. This week I was able to amend it onto SB 716 on the house floor, while it was added in the Senate to HB 2125 this week as well.
  HB 1842 a win/win bill for Rural Healthcare and Doctors just out of medical school without a residency program.  The bill requires an assistant physician collaborative practice arrangement similar to that of a nurse practitioner, yet also requires them to serve in a Rural Health Clinic or underserved area.
  Missouri would be the first state to implement such a plan. The General Assembly appears to be excited about the possibilities.

House Bill 1898, Perinatal Advisory Council

  This week a bill came to the floor that really caught me by surprise. House Bill 1898 proposes to establish a government panel called the Perinatal Advisory Council. This council is made up of 14 people, only 4 of which are doctors. It would be empowered to divide the state up into regions and authorize the type of care that could be provided at hospitals within those regions.
  It would modify how peer review is done in our hospitals and medical committees, it includes a new type of healthcare professional, a Community Provider, but does not define the background, training or authority of that individual.
  This would make very substantial changes to the way obstetrical care is provided in our state, it did not come through the committee on Health Care Policy, which I chair.
  I pointed out on the House Floor that this bill was insufficiently  vetted. It did not receive the scrutiny of the Healthcare Policy Committee, which is made up of State Representatives who have had training and experience in the healthcare field.  
  Obamacare has brought to the healthcare field 159 government agencies to regulate how healthcare is delivered. In my view House Bill 1898 represented Missouri's effort to add a 160th government agency to oversee healthcare.
  The other physician in the House of Representatives, Dr. Jim Neely, also spoke in opposition to this bill as did a number of others. Ultimately the house trusted the judgment of the representatives in the house with healthcare experience, and voted this measure down. At this point in the history of our country, with the unprecedented intrusion of government into our lives, including the intrusion into our lives regarding our healthcare, I believe we should be very careful before enacting legislation that casts an additional net of bureaucracy over the medical profession and over all of our personal healthcare choices.