Among the bills signed into law last week by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson were measures sponsored by local lawmakers.
State Rep. Sheila Solon saw her foster care reform bill signed into law. House Bill 1414 included several provisions aimed at improving the system through workforce retention, better tools for care workers as well as rules pertaining to in-person court appearances for foster children.
“What House Bill 1414 is going to do is bring a greater transparency of the data that we have in the foster care system, more accountability and actually modernize the whole system,” Solon told News-Press NOW.
The state senator who represents St. Joseph and Buchanan County also had success with legislation this session.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, had two measures that got the governor’s ink: Senate Bills 600 and 676.
Ahead of announcing a special session related to violent crime, Parson signed SB 600 into law. Luetkemeyer’s bill was aimed at people who commit violent crimes.
“What it does is it ends the catch-and-release practice that allows violent offenders to re-offend,” Luetkemeyer said. “It also bars probation for people who commit second-degree murder and other dangerous felonies and it enhances penalties for felons who use guns to commit violent crimes.”
“This bill slams shut the revolving door of criminality by banning prohibition for murders, repeat dangerous offenders and individuals committing dangerous felonies with a weapon,” Luetkemeyer said during the signing ceremony last week.
SB 676 was a broader measure related to taxation, including a provision that prevents the state from collecting state taxes on federal stimulus checks that were issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Missouri was one of six states with a federal deductibility provision that could result in the relief payments being subject to state income tax. Missouri’s deduction applies to those with $125,000 or less in state gross income and is capped at $5,000, or $10,000 for joint filers. If the relief checks reduced a qualifying taxpayer’s federal liability below those thresholds, the taxpayer’s state tax liability could increase, according to Law 360 and the Tax Foundation.
Andrew County state Sen. Dan Hegeman also got the green light on his legislation, including a measure that expanded mail-in voting because of the coronavirus.
“Any Missourian affected by COVID-19 should still be able to vote, including those who are sick or considered at-risk,” Parson said in a statement after he signed the bill. “I applaud Sen. Dan Hegeman, Rep. Dan Shaul, and the rest of the legislature for taking this important step, which provides Missourians with a safe and secure way to vote while still safeguarding our elections and ballot process.”
Hegeman, a longtime advocate for broadband internet expansion, also helped a measure through the Senate that allocates $50 million in federal funds to go to broadband expansion.