LEGISLATIVE REPORT June 13, 2018
Editor’s note: This column is an edited combination of two of State Sen. Mike Cunningham’s legislative report. The list of bills reported here has been shortened for space considerations.
It’s an exciting time to be a Missourian, and I am proud to say Missouri’s future is bright with Gov. Mike Parson leading our state.
I met Gov. Parson several years ago while he was serving as Polk County Sherriff. Since then, I have had the honor and privilege to serve with him in the Missouri House of Repre-sentatives and in the Senate, including the last two years while he has been Missouri’s lieutenant governor.
Throughout my time in Jefferson City, I have not only come to know and respect him as a lawmaker but also as a friend.
Mike Parson is a man of faith and conviction. He has a passion not only for our state but for all Missourians. The governor has always been a strong supporter of economic development and job growth. A farmer himself, he has worked passionately to protect Missouri’s agriculture industry. He sponsored and co-sponsored several landmark pieces of legislation, including Missouri’s Castle Doctrine, which strengthened Second Amendment rights. He also championed a change to our state’s constitution, guaranteeing the right to farm for all Missourians.
Having served as the sheriff of Polk County for eight years and six years in the U.S. Army, Gov. Parson has always been a dedicated supporter of law enforcement and veterans issues. During his first year as lieutenant governor, he launched an investigation into the St. Louis Veterans Home, which has since come under new leadership.
I offer my full support and confidence to the new governor. He is a man of great character. I believe he will do everything in his power to move our state forward and continue to make the Show-Me State a great place to live, work and raise a family.
While the legislative session has ended, the legislative process has continued these past weeks. Once bills are voted out of the Missouri General Assembly, they go to the governor for final approval or veto. A number of bills that I sponsored, handled or amended were approved by the governor recently, and several more remain on his desk for further consideration. These include:
House Bill 1880 declares that expanding and accelerating access to high-speed internet is in Missouri’s best interests. This legislation also encourages rural electric cooperatives to work with and enter into agreements with certain entities to accomplish this important goal. Moving forward in the 21st century, access to high-speed internet is a necessity. I sponsored similar legislation in the Senate and handled the passage of the House bill for the bill’s sponsor. On June 1, the governor signed this bill into law.
Senate Bill 568 changes state law regarding pay raises for county officials. This legislation allows a county salary commission to increase base salaries for county office holders up to $2,000, as long as the pay raise applies to all positions. In addition, the legislation allows the commission to increase the base salary of their county sheriff by $6,000. The bill awaits the governor’s approval.
Senate Bill 627 is an agriculture omnibus bill that deals with a range of issues, including urban and community gardens, bison, honey bees, the sale of certain meats and the use of fertilizers. This bill in-cludes Senate Bill 1006, legislation I sponsored this year. Currently, any timber cut on land classified as forest cropland is subject to a yield tax. The legislation repeals this tax on forestry products. Senate Bill 627 was signed by the governor on June 1.
Senate Bill 708 raises the minimum motor vehicle liability coverage a person must carry for others’ property when operating a motor vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsi-bility Law. The legislation raises the requirement from $10,000 to $25,000. In addition, this bill requires insurance agents to notify their clients of any reduction in coverage at least 15 days prior to the policy change taking effect. This is similar to Senate Bill 955, legislation I sponsored. Currently, SB 708 is awaiting the governor’s approval.
Senate Bill 819 strengthens state law regarding children living in Missouri. It includes numerous provisions intended to protect children in foster care and in other vulnerable situations. The legislation also makes it easier for the state’s Children’s Division and other state agencies to share information regarding child abuse and neglect investigations. In addition, SB 819 allows states to share information involving child abuse cases. The governor signed this bill into law on June 1.
House Bill 1291 includes language I sponsored regarding transportation infrastructure funding. This legislation aims to encourage counties to cooperate on road projects with other political subdivisions within the county. It also provides counties additional authority to issue bonds for street maintenance and repair while repealing a portion of state law requiring road bond construction funds to only be used on continuous roads within the county.
House Bill 1719 reforms Missouri’s professional registration laws. This legislation includes Senate Bill 824, legislation I sponsored regarding nurses who practice under the influence of drugs and other substances. Senate Bill 824 allows the Missouri State Board of Nursing to establish an intervention program to help with the identification, intervention, treatment and monitoring of nurses and those applying for a nursing license who have a substance use disorder. House Bill 1719 was approved by the governor on June 1.
I believe these bills will help move our state forward. I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I accomplished during the 2018 legislative session.
If you would like to arrange to visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, contact my Capitol office at 573-751-1882.