General assembly concludes highly productive 2019 legislative session
As the clock hit 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, members of the Missouri House and Senate reached the conclusion of a highly productive legislative session that saw a number of important policy reforms cross the finish line. After months of work, legislators were able to pass more than 70 bills and send them to the governor’s desk. The bills that received final passage include a number of priorities outlined by House leadership, as well as issues supported by the governor.
One bill approved by House and Senate members would create economic incentives meant to create and retain jobs, and implement a workforce development program to train Missourians to fill jobs in areas of high need. The legislature also approved the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, which is one of the strongest pro-life bills in the nation. Additionally, lawmakers gave final approval to bills that will protect some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, make substantive reforms to Missouri’s criminal justice system, encourage agricultural development and ensure food security, and improve the state’s legal climate.
The legislature’s efforts during the 2019 session also include passage of a fiscally responsible state spending plan. The $29.7 billion budget provides a record level of funding for K-12 education and fully funds the school foundation formula for the third year in a row. The spending plan also provides funding boosts for state scholarship programs and for the state’s institutions of higher learning. Additionally, the budget funds repairs for the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
Major 2019 Legislative Accomplishments
Strengthening Missouri’s Economy:
• Fast-Track – SB 68 is designed to fill workforce gaps in high demand industries by providing financial aid for adult learners. Fast Track will give adults whose income is below the Missouri average an opportunity to gain skills that boost their earning potential and prepare them for work in high-demand occupations.
• Missouri One Start – Another provision of SB 68 would allow the Missouri Department of Economic Development to improve and consolidate its workforce development programs.
Protecting the Most Vulnerable:
• Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act – HB 126 referred to as the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, the bill would prohibit physicians from performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat or brain function is detected, which is typically around 8 weeks gestational age.
• Fighting Sex Trafficking – HB 397 is meant to protect underage victims of sex trafficking from prosecution. Lawmakers endorsed the change to ensure young people who are forced into prostitution aren’t further traumatized by facing criminal charges.
• Hailey’s Law – Another provision in HB 397 is meant to better protect children by improving the state’s Amber Alert system.
• Simon’s Law – HB 397 and HB 138 would also prevent do-not-resuscitate orders from being issued for Missouri children without a parent being aware.
• Nathan’s Law – Another provision in HB 397 would make unlicensed day care facilities safer for Missouri children.
Protecting Missouri’s Agriculture Industry & Rural Missouri
• Creating Consistent Farm Regulations – SB 391 will provide consistency in the way farm operations across the state are regulated. .
• Wind Farm Tax Revenue – HB 220. This is legislation I sponsored that would ensure tax revenues generated by wind farm projects will stay local whether they are owned by public utilities or privately owned. The passage of this bill will help secure the future of our rural communities, our rural schools, fire districts, and ambulance districts by mandating that millions of dollars of tax revenue will stay home.
As always, it is an honor to represent you!
Representative Allen Andrews, District 1; Missouri State Capitol, Room 407; 201 West Capitol Avenue;Jefferson City, MO 65101.