State Rep. Chris Dinkins Report 4/8/2021
Greetings Friends of the 144th Legislative District! Last week I attended a fish fry at the Clearwater Baptist Church in Piedmont. This fish fry was in appreciation for all those who worked tirelessly to resolve the water issue in Piedmont. I want to again thank all those who helped with this any way. For those who do not know, areas of Piedmont, including the Nursing Home, were without water for 10 days. We don’t realize on a daily basis how lucky we are to have modern day resources until we have to do with out them. Thank you to the Clearwater Baptist Church for recognizing all those who worked on this issue day after day until it was resolved.
This week I invited the South Iron Panthers Boys and Girls Basketball teams to the Capitol to recognize them on outstanding season. Both teams made it to the final four. The teams were introduced on the House floor and were given a special tour. None of the players had ever been to the Capitol before so it was a very special treat for them. If you would ever like to visit the Capitol please feel free to reach out to my office.
SB 2 – Missouri Works, Truly Agreed And Finally Passed
This bill modifies the Missouri Works program to provide that, for qualified military projects, the benefit shall be based on part-time and full-time jobs created by the project. The bill will authorize the counting of part-time National Guard positions for the Missouri Works program which will increase tax credits to employers that create and support military personnel. The bill may also help members of the military obtain insurance benefits. The bill fixes an oversight and adds part-time military jobs to a tax credit calculation so that it will function as originally intended.
Spending Plan Sent to the Senate (HBs 1-13)
Missouri House members gave their stamp of approval to the appropriations bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2022 State Operating Budget. Members spent more than 7 hours on the House floor Tuesday as they discussed and amended the 13 bills that contain more than $32 billion in funding.
With the spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, the House once again prioritized funding for K-12 education. The budget makes a record investment in K-12 education as it once again fully funds the School Foundation Formula. In total, elementary and secondary education will receive $8,071,696,005 in funding.
The House also prioritized funding for Missouri’s foster care and adoption programs. Significant increases include:
• $40.7 million increase to Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies
• $12.8 million increase to Foster Care Maintenance Payments that support families with foster children
• $4.8 million to provide behavioral health supports for children in foster care and their families
• $3.9 million for a rate increase for respite services for foster and adoptive families
• $2.7 million for foster family recruitment
• $1.3 million increase in support for Infant Care expenses for kids in foster care
• $1.2 million increase in funds for clothing allowances for children in foster care
• $1 million for up to 16 new attorneys for foster care legal representation in Missouri’s courts
• $400,000 to boost foster parent training
Other highlights of the FY 2022 budget include:
• $7.3 million increase in federal funds for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II) to help meet needs in K-12 schools
• $3 million for a Rural Advising Program to help high school students and counselors in rural areas with college entry
• $2.5 million for increased transportation costs for school districts
• $2.5 million to boost reading literacy in the St. Louis area
• $2.1 million in new funding for parent education development screenings (Parents As Teachers)
• $200,000 to help support the Missouri Scholars & Fine Arts Academies
• $50,000 for tutoring and other educational programs at the W.E.B. Dubois Center in Kansas City
• $67.5 million in restored funding for four-year public institutions that was previously lost due to the pandemic
• Increases to all four of the state’s primary scholarship programs: A+, Bright Flight, Access Missouri, and Fast Track
• $3 million funding increase for Missouri’s 12 community colleges
• $500,000 in new funds for the Delta Research Center
• $500,000 to Harris-Stowe State University to begin an entrepreneurship program
• $325,000 to support the MU Veterans Law Clinic that provides legal assistance to military veterans
• $1.6 million for improvements to weigh stations across the state
• $541,047 to increase the assessment maintenance subsidy that county assessors receive to $3.15 per parcel
• $300,000 to help state agencies mitigate with black vulture mitigation
• As much as $10 million from the sale of medical marijuana to help support the state’s Veterans Homes Program
• $4.6 million for various improvements to Missouri’s veteran homes
• $5.3 million for “Raise the Age” for the Division of Youth Services to provide services for children age seventeen who are engaged in the criminal justice system
• Another $13.2 million for the judicial branch to handle “Raise the Age” cases
• $671,714 in funds to convert Crossroads Correctional Center into a training academy for incoming correctional officers
• $21.3 million in new funding to increase salaries and retain corrections officers
• $14 million in new funding for the Aid to Counties program (prisoner per diem)
• $2.5 million for a recidivism reduction program that works with recently released prisoners
• $134.1 million in federal stimulus funds for the Department of Health and Senior Services to continue coronavirus mitigation efforts
• $146.7 million in total funds to increase reimbursement to those providers who take care of Missouri’s developmentally disabled population
The appropriations bills now move to the Senate for consideration. The two chambers will need to agree on a final version of the state spending plan by May 7, which is the constitutional deadline for budget approval.
Bills Sent to the Senate
Missouri-Made Fuels Act – HB 529
This bill specifies that all diesel fuel sold or offered for sale in Missouri for use in internal combustion engines must contain at least the following stated percentage of biodiesel fuel oil by volume on and after the following dates: (1) April 1, 2023, until March 31, 2024 – 5 percent; and (2) Beginning April 1, 2024 – 10 percent. Biodiesel was invented in Missouri and over 200 million gallons are produced in the state each year, but much of it is exported to other states. Biodiesel is a low emission diesel fuel option that can help Missouri meet the renewable fuels standards. This bill would provide for a roll out of a statewide biodiesel fuel standard that would create jobs and grow the state's agricultural economy, while providing an environmentally friendly fuel option. This bill now moves to the Senate.
Prescribed Burning Act – HB 369
This bill creates the "Prescribed Burning Act", which specifies that any landowner or agent of a landowner will not be liable for damage, injury, or loss caused by a prescribed burn, as defined in the bill, or the resulting smoke of a prescribed burn unless the landowner is proven to be negligent. Additionally, no certified burn manager will be liable if the burn is conducted in accordance with a written prescribed burn plan unless the burn manager is found to be negligent. Prescribed burning is an important tool for enhancing the state's biodiversity. For a state that leads the nation on conservation efforts, Missouri is one of only five states that does not have statutes relating to prescribed burning and therefore, few insurance companies will issue professional liability insurance to individuals conducting prescribed burns. This bill would limit the liability of those conducting the prescribed burning and now moves to the Senate.
Second Injury Fund - HB 384
This bill modifies provisions relating to the workers' compensation Second Injury Fund. Currently, the Second Injury Fund receives funds from an annual surcharge of up to 3 percent on employers' workers' compensation premiums and an annual supplemental surcharge of up to 3 percent for calendar years 2014 to 2021. This bill extends the supplemental surcharge sunset from 2021 to 2024. The bill will help ensure solvency of the Second Injury Fund which benefits disabled individuals. By extending a surcharge, it will help the fund to avoid bankruptcy and allow time to address overall funding. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112.
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