The Missouri House of Representatives spent all day Tuesday and then several more hours Thursday working on the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan are now on their way to the Senate for consideration.

The Missouri House of Representatives spent all day Tuesday and then several more hours Thursday working on the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan are now on their way to the Senate for consideration.

During discussion on the House floor, the approximately $27.3 billion spending plan saw House members offer and adopt several amendments to move funding from one program to another.

Some of the major changes made to the budget on Tuesday include:

    •    A $1 million increase to the Foundation Formula that provides state funding for K-12 public schools. The money was moved from the Facilities Management Reserve Fund.
    •    An additional $55,000 for the Foundation Formula that comes from a cut to the Missouri Department of Social Services. House members made a cut of $379,000 to ensure no state dollars are used for nonemergency abortions. The majority of the funds are federal, but the $55,000 in state funds were reallocated to education.
    •    A $214,000 increase to the Parents as Teachers program. The money was cut from the budget for the governor’s office.
    •    An additional $50,000 to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that is designed to increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers among middle school and early high school students. The money was moved from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
    •    A funding increase of $1 million for agricultural research at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. The funds, which were taken from the University of Missouri – Columbia campus, will allow Lincoln to receive matching federal land grant funding.
    •    $750,000 for the Brain Injury Waiver to draw down federal funds to help provide care to Missourians with brain injuries who are currently on a waiting list. The money was moved from funds allocated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.
    •    $300,000 in funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center to offer shop and lab training and classroom instructional opportunities to high school graduates and dislocated workers. The money was moved from funding for the Department of Natural Resources.

Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget as it moves to the Senate:

    •    $70.3 million increase for the Foundation Formula, which funds K-12 public schools
    •    $5 million increase for K-12 transportation
    •    $4 million increase for the Access Missouri need-based scholarship program.
    •    $2.5 million increase for the A+ Scholarship program
    •    $500,000 increase for the Bright Flight scholarship program
    •    $2 million increase for river ports
    •    $30 million to revive the state cost-share program to fund transportation projects
    •    $500,000 increase for the Alternatives to Abortion program
    •    Two percent pay increase for state employees

Improving Health Care Outcomes for Infants (HB 1875)

We also gave approval this week to legislation meant to provide a better system of care for at-risk newborns. The bill would allow for the creation of a perinatal network in Missouri to act as a resource for physicians whose patients have high risk pregnancies or complications after birth. The goal of the network is to ensure risk-appropriate care is provided to children in need.

Legislation to Allow Good Samaritans to “Rescue the Forgotten” (HB 1649)

The Missouri House gave approval to legislation meant to expand Missouri’s Good Samaritan law to allow conscientious citizens to break into a hot vehicle in order to rescue a forgotten child. Known as the “Rescue the Forgotten” the bill would protect individuals for damages caused while trying to rescue a child in danger.

Bill to Expand Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals in Missouri (HB 1696)

The members of the Missouri House gave bipartisan support this week to legislation meant to help deaf and blind Missourians live more independently. The legislation allows the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to issue grants to provide necessary services to deaf-blind individuals and their families.  The grants will be utilized for the training and certification of new support service providers, and will help offset the costs to organizations that provide support services to deaf-blind persons.  The bill is meant to decrease the reliance of deaf-blind individuals on public assistance.

MoDOT Launches Enhanced Pothole Patrol Today, Report a Pothole By Phone or Online

The Missouri Department of Transportation is kicking off an enhanced pothole repair initiative starting today throughout the state. Through the rest of the month of March, maintenance crews are committed to repairing a pothole with asphalt as quickly as possible of it being reported. MoDOT will aggressively respond and patch potholes to keep highways smooth and safe for Missouri motorists.

Motorists can report the location of potholes using the following tools:
•  Call 24/7 Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636)
•  Use Report a Road Concern form on the web at www.modot.org
•  Use your smart phone/tablet with a mobile friendly form at www.modot.org/roadconcern or
•  By email to comments@modot.mo.gov






Visiting the Capitol
As always, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol, please do not hesitate to contact us at 573-751-1344 or toll free at 855-440-4985.  You may also reach my Legislative Assistant, Deanna, at deanna.sherwood@house.mo.gov.

If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit my office and Deanna will be happy to meet and greet you!  May God bless you!