This Capitol Report will give you an account of what is transpiring in your State Capitol, from the perspective of a citizen legislator. I try to give you a feel for the process and the substance of what is being talked about with an "Inside Baseball" approach.

This Capitol Report will give you an account of what is transpiring in your State Capitol, from the perspective of a citizen legislator.  I try to give you a feel for the process and the substance of what is being talked about with an "Inside Baseball" approach.

Dinner with Governor Nixon
I had the opportunity to have dinner with the Governor and Mrs. Nixon this week with my wife Marilyn. We discussed a few issues with the governor and his staff, including healthcare. The Govenor appeared to be recovering nicely from his bilateral knee replacement surgery.


Floor Activity
House Sends FY 2017 State Operating Budget to the Senate
 
The members of 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.
Changes to the budget on the floor must either be revenue neutral or revenue positive. In effect, if a member wants to increase funding in one area of the budget, he or she must first reduce corresponding funds in another area. With this, the size of the budget cannot grow on the House floor.
 
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.
    •    $500,000 for the creation of an Urban Education Institute at Harris-Stowe State University. The money was moved from the funding increase for the state’s institutions of higher education.
    •    $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
    •    $9.4 million increase in performance funding for Missouri colleges and universities
    •    $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
    •    $1.3 million for 2015’s Dairy Revitalization Act
    •    $2 million increase for river ports
    •    $1.25 million increase for business startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation
    •    $30 million to revive the state cost-share program to fund transportation projects
    •    Increase Medicaid provider rates by three percent
    •    $500,000 increase for the Alternatives to Abortion program
    •    Two percent pay increase for state employees
 
 
House Approves 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” bill, the legislation is similar to law already in place in other states such as Tennessee. In effect, the bill would protect individuals for damages caused while trying to rescue a child in danger.
 
According to KidsandCars.org, in the last 20 years more than 700 children have died from heatstroke in vehicles in the United States. Missouri ranks as the 13th among states for most child vehicular heatstroke deaths. As the sponsor of the bill said, “It’s time for Missouri to join the many other states that have made the safety and well-being of their young people a top priority. It’s common sense to empower people to do the right thing in what could be a life or death situation.”
 
House Members Approve 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.
 
Under the bill, the commission will be able to issue up to $300,000 in grants each year.  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.
 
Supporters said that additional providers, who help with tasks such as getting to work or shopping, will allow more deaf-blind individuals to become independent. The bill also is meant to decrease the reliance of deaf-blind individuals on public assistance.

Rep. Frederick spoke on the floor in support of this bill. He firmly believes this bill will help the families of children born deaf-blind as well as all people living deaf-blind. These are some of Missouri's most vulnerable citizens.
 Contributed by House Staff


Rolla Rotary
The Rotary Club of Rolla sponsored Rolla High School students on Thursday, March 9 for Student Government Day at the Capitol. Pictured above are the students and teacher sponsor, Travis Curtis, Amanda Steineman, Megan Lenox, Sam Wilsdorf, Anton Ganster, Donald Wusch and Representative Frederick. Not in the picture is Rolla Rotary member, Dan Collier.



Absentee Voting
Here I am with Dr. Pam Grow, The Phelps County Clerk late Thursday afternoon just before closing time after having voted absentee for the upcoming elections. I was allowed to cast my vote in a very efficient and businesslike manner by the staff at the Phelps County Clerk's office. Dr. Grow continues doing an outstanding job for the citizens of Phelps County.
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Constituent Business Owner
Scott Volner – Thursday a constituent came to meet with me who is a small business owner in Rolla. He has an innovative business model to produce fertilizer for crops here in Missouri, but is being impeded in his efforts here due to obstruction by some government agencies. It just doesn't sound like government regulation is being used appropriately in this situation and I intend to get to the bottom of it.


Health Care Cost Reduction and Transparency Act
Representative Frederick has been working behind the scenes to get his HB 2269, The Health Care Cost Reduction and


Transparency Act into law. There were discussions on the bill in committee as well as in the halls of the capitol. A new amendment has just been delivered to committee members for their review. This bill hopes to ensure that hospitals, surgical centers, and imaging centers would have to provide on their website the 25 most common surgical procedures and the 20 most common imaging procedures prices for those procedures. Before you buy a car, you want to know how much it cost before you sign the papers and drive it off the lot, the same should be available regarding the most common medical procedures.
Submitted by Office Staff


To reach Rep. Keith Frederick E-mail Keith.Frederick@house.mo.gov
Phone (573) 751-3834