STATE SEN. MIKE CUNNINGHAM
During the final week of the 2018 legislative session, the Missouri Senate was able to pass numerous pieces of legislation. It was a successful session, and I am proud of the work we were able to accomplish on behalf of all Missourians.
In the final week, lawmakers truly agreed and finally passed Senate Bill 608, a proposal that protects businesses against frivolous lawsuits stemming from third-party criminal activity that occurs on their property without their knowledge. The proposal gives landowners a solid defense from people who are committing crimes on their property.
Lawmakers also truly agreed and finally passed Senate Bill 882, which allows students to transfer money from a MOST 529 college savings account to the Missouri Achieving a Better Life Experience (MO ABLE) savings account. A MOST 529 college savings account can help with any supplemental costs students may incur while they are enrolled in school. In the event a student develops a disability prior to the age of 26, they can transfer their funds from one account to the other without a tax penalty.
By allowing the transfer without the tax penalty, a family who receives an unexpected diagnosis that changes their life plan has more options in order to make smart, financial decisions for their child’s future. This is a great opportunity for Missouri families who have children with disabilities to improve their child’s quality of life while also creating future opportunities for their child to become self-sufficient.
Senate Bill 982 is legislation intended to protect patients from billing disputes between insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. Currently, many hospitals in the state subcontract physicians and other health care providers. This means when an individual goes into an in-network emergency room, the doctor they see may not be in their insurance network. Though the consumers thought they did everything right, they find themselves responsible for out-of-network insurance costs. This legislation gives insurance companies and the health care provider the opportunity to negotiate rates without putting patients in the middle.
The legislature also gave final approval to legislation intended to attract high paying jobs to Missouri. Senate Bill 894/921 incentivizes high school students to take computer science courses. It requires new computer science standards to include coding and programming along with guidelines designed for K-12 schools. This will encourage more Missouri students to study computer science by allowing these courses to count toward high school graduation. Polls indicate 93 percent of Missouri parents want their children to be taught the computer science skills they need for the 21st century job market. This knowledge is in high demand across our state and country. The bill also creates a certification program for computer science teachers and also introduces an online program that showcases STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and their impact on today’s economy.
Overall, the Missouri General Assembly passed more than 150 pieces of legislation. We will return to the Capitol in September for the annual veto session. Thank you again for your support and input during this legislative session,.I look forward to spending time in the district and taking part in an array of community events.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at 573-751-1882 if you need to talk to me.