Jered sent this update:
House Approves Paycheck Protection (HB 251) Last Thursday the House passed legislation that I introduced, by a vote of 95-60, HB 251, commonly referred to as "paycheck protection." It would allow union members to ensure their dues aren’t used for political purposes they oppose.
The bill is meant to give public employee union members the right to opt-in annually to have their dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. The current system requires a public employee to opt-out. If they fail to do so, their dues are automatically deducted.
Specifically, the bill would require annual written or electronic consent from a public employee before any amount could be withheld from the employee’s earnings for the payment of any portion of dues, agency shop fees, or other fees paid to a public labor organization. The legislation also would require public employee unions to obtain annual written or electronic consent in order to spend a portion of the fees on political activities.
In addition, the bill is designed to increase transparency by requiring public labor organizations to maintain financial records identical to those required by federal law. The reports must be made available to employees in a searchable electronic format.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The Missouri General Assembly approved a similar bill last year, but the legislation was vetoed by the previous governor. The current governor is expected to sign this year’s version of the bill into law if it reaches his desk.
Taylor Appointed Chair of SubcommitteeI was appointed this week to a Subcommittee on Boards and Commissions to investigate the the excessive boards and commissions throughout the state, established in state statute. Currently there are over 500 boards and commissions and the goal is to reduce these by 50%.
Right-to-Work Legislation Signed into LawMissouri will now become the nation’s 28th Right-to-Work state as Governor Eric Greitens recently SB 19 into law. This week the governor traveled to Springfield and Poplar Bluff before returning to Jefferson City for a series of ceremonial bill signings to tout the benefits of the new law that will take effect August 28.
As Greitens told a group of legislators and onlookers before signing the bill in the State Capitol, “Passing Right-to-Work sends a very clear message that the people of Missouri are ready to work and Missouri is open for business.”
House Approves Bill to Create Blue Alert System (HB 302 & 228)In an effort to ensure law enforcement officials quickly receive the information they need to apprehend individuals who injure or kill peace officers, the Missouri House approved legislation this week to create a Blue Alert System. The system is one of the priorities of Governor Eric Greitens, who included $250,000 in funding in his budget proposal to establish the system.
Similar to the Amber and Silver Alert systems, the Blue Alert system would send out identifying information such as a physical description of the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle. Twenty-seven states already have a similar system in place. Specifically, the bill would establish the Blue Alert System to aid in the identification, location, and apprehension of any individual or individuals suspected of killing or seriously injuring a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies and public commercial television and radio broadcasters to effectively implement the system.
Supporters say Missouri would benefit from its own system so that it can better protect the brave men and women who protect communities across the state. The sponsor of the bill noted the legislation’s bill number, 302, is in honor of an officer who was seriously injured in the line of duty. Ballwin police officer Michael Flamion, whose badge number is 302, was shot and paralyzed from the neck down during a traffic stop in July of 2016.
House Approves Legislation to Ensure Fairness in Public Construction (HB 126)The members of the Missouri House approved legislation this week meant to put an end to project labor agreements (PLAs) and ensure a fair and competitive bidding process for public works projects in Missouri. In effect, the bill would ban PLAs, which ensure public works contracts are almost exclusively awarded to union contractors or contractors who agree to labor union demands.
Supporters of the bill say it is important to make the bidding process for taxpayer-funded projects competitive and fair so that Missourians will get a better return on their tax dollars. They also point out that PLAs raise the cost of construction on average by 18 percent.
The sponsor, who noted that 86 percent of the workforce is non-union, said, “With the current system we see contracts awarded to union labor with a price tag that is significantly higher than what would be paid for non-union labor. When you exclude the majority of your construction work force from the bidding process, which is what PLAs do, it’s impossible to say it’s a fair and competitive system that makes good use of our tax dollars.”
If approved by both chambers and signed into law, Missouri would join 23 other states that have already enacted laws to limit or prohibit PLAs.
House Removing Burdensome Regulations for Hair Braiders (HB 230)The Missouri House took action this week to reduce the burdensome regulations placed on hair braiders. Both Governor Greitens and House leadership have made it a priority to reduce the number of regulations that too often stifle economic development in the state. The legislation passed this week simply specifies that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living.
Currently in Missouri, hair braiders have to obtain a cosmetology license that requires thousands of hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. Supporters have noted that hair braiders are required to complete 1,500 hours of training while a real estate agent needs only 72 hours, and an emergency medical technician needs only 100. As the sponsor of the bill noted, “This destroys economic opportunity and rigs the system against predominantly lower and middle-class minority women.”
The bill approved by the House specifies that the practice of cosmetology cannot include hair braiding. It does require all individuals engaging in braiding to first register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. However, the purpose of the registration is only to maintain a listing of individuals who engage in hair braiding for compensation. It does not authorize the board to license or regulate the practice of hair braiding in any way.
The bill also requires the board to prepare a brochure containing information regarding infection control techniques for hair braiding that must contain a self-test with questions. An individual engaged in the practice of hair braiding is required to complete the self-test and make it available upon request.
Honoring Missouri's HeroesMembers of the Missouri House and Senate took time this week to honor Missouri’s military service members. Many of the state’s top military officials made their way to the State Capitol to be recognized for their service during Military Appreciation and Awareness Day. Hosted by the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, the annual event is meant to highlight the significant contributions and sacrifices of military service members and the importance of the economic impact that military installations have on the state of Missouri.
Visitors included Major General Steve Danner, Missouri Adjutant General; Major General Kent Savre with Fort Leonard Wood; Brigadier General Paul Tibbets with Whiteman Air Force Base; and Mr. Ed Donaldson, Deputy Chief of Staff for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The day’s events included a combined Senate and House reception in the Senate mezzanine, and a joint meeting of the Senate and House Veterans Committees. The military leaders also were honored in the House Chamber and had the opportunity to address the members of the House.
During the day, House members were able to learn more about the economic impact the military has on the state. With more than 95,000 Missourians who work in defense-related jobs, several military installations, and dozens upon dozens of military vendors and suppliers, the military industry has a significant impact on the state’s economy. In fact, for every $1 invested into the state’s military, $2.50 is generated in Missouri goods and services. Overall, the $14 billion per year in military spending over the past three fiscal years has resulted in an average of $32 billion per year in goods and services being purchased from Missouri companies and 183,000 jobs per year created in the state.
Also during Military Appreciation Day, the governor launched a new program to help returning veterans find quality jobs. Governor Greitens and Major General Kent Savre signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining a workforce initiative for service members and their spouses. Under the new agreement, the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Army will cooperate to better connect military men and women entering the civilian workforce with Missouri businesses offering apprenticeships that could lead to full-time employment.
Committees I Have been Assigned To
Bills I’ve SponsoredHB 250: This bill increases the fines for any person convicted of chasing, pursuing, taking, transporting, killing, processing, or disposing of certain wildlife in violation of the Missouri Conservation Commission's rules and regulations may be required to pay restitution to the state. The moneys collected will be transferred to the State School Moneys fund.
HB 251: (Passed the House by a vote of 95-60)This bill requires authorization for certain labor unions to use dues and fees to make political contributions and requires consent for withholding earnings from paychecks, also known as Paycheck Protection.
HB 252: This bill adds to the offense of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree the knowing ingestion, injection, consumption, inhalation, or other usage of a narcotic drug or controlled substance without a prescription or in contravention to a valid prescription while the person is pregnant and knows or reasonably should have known she is pregnant.
HB 630: (Referred to General Laws) This bill addresses the dangerous "Gun Free Zones" throughout the state. It makes changes to the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm within this state and the list of locations an individual with a concealed carry permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state.
HB 686: This bill requires any non-food product sold in the Missouri State Capitol Building to be made in the United States.
HB 687: This bill will prohibit the State Board of Education from making any substantive changes to any assessment test developed in accordance with Section 160.518, RSMo, and from eliminating its administration until schools have administered the test to students for five consecutive years unless such revision or elimination of a test is required in order to comply with federal law.
HJR 28: Upon voter approval, this Constitutional amendment phases out the individual income tax and replaces it with an expanded sales tax.
Missouri’s No Call List LawThe Missouri’s No Call Law has been expanded to cover personal cell phones in addition to residential land lines. Missourians may now register their cell phone numbers by going to www.ago.mo.gov or by phone at 1-866-662-2551.