Legislative Heads-Up Week of 2.27.17

Full Floor Debate

House Calendar

SB 45 – Sponsor: Romine (District 3)
Many Missourians might feel forced to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment if this bill passes, without fully understanding the implications. Arbitration does not have to follow legal precedents, and remedies through the courts may be more appropriate in some employment situations than arbitration.

Senate Calendar

SB 43 – Sponsor: Romine (District 3), with Senate Committee Substitute
Weakens the protections of the human rights code and makes it more difficult to prove discrimination.

SB 28 – Sponsor: Sater (District 29), with Senate Committee Substitute
This is the dangerous Medicaid reform bill that could lead to reductions in coverage or funding and that is a premature gamble, given the uncertainty in Washington , DC.

SB 34 – Sponsor: Cunningham (District 33)
Creates a redundant state law regarding illegal re-entry by undocumented persons. Immigration law change is best undertaken as comprehensive and compassionate federal reform with adequate funding and staffing for implementation. A patchwork of state level laws is confusing and saps state resources.



House Hearings:

Find House Committee members at: http://www.house.mo.gov/ActiveCommittees.aspx


Monday, February 27

• 1 p.m., Hearing Room 6, Special Committee on Litigation Reform – House Bill 156, sponsored by Rep. Corlew (District 14). This bill weakens employee protections in that arbitration does not have to follow previous legal precedence. Many employees would not understand that signing an arbitration agreement at hiring would cut off their access to the courts should they experience discrimination or other abuse from that employer.
• 1 p.m., Hearing Room 1, Ways and Means Committee – House Bill 547, sponsored by Rep. Curtman (District 109). This bill would add an inflation adjustment to our long outdated income tax table, preventing it from becoming even more outdated, a small step, but in the right direction.
• Also in that Ways and Means hearing – House Bill 688, sponsored by John McCaherty (District 97). This authorizes a tax credit for organizations that work with ex-offenders. It would be better to fund these very crucial programs through a progressive income tax producing adequate revenue for our state’s essential needs, but that is not currently an option.
• 5 p.m., Hearing Room 5, Special Committee on Urban Issues – House Bill 847, sponsored by Rep. Cora Faith Walker (District 74). This bill would require teacher training to include proficiency on the concepts of the trauma-informed and approach and trauma-informed interventions.

Tuesday, February 28

• 8 a.m., Hearing Room 7, Economic Development – House Bill 637 – sponsored by Rep. Helms (District 135). One of the many attacks on organized labor, this one is against public sector unions. Our allies at the State Workers Union (CWA Local 6355) have asked for our solidarity in opposing this bill.
• Noon, Hearing Room 4, Insurance Policy – House Bill 780 – sponsored by Rep. Hill (District 108). This bill establishes a state innovation waiver task force to develop a health care reform plan. While there are pro-patient reforms that need to be made to Medicaid, state innovations can hold as much threat as opportunity, so vigilance by advocates would be needed.
• 4 p.m. (or upon adjournment), Hearing Room 1, Judiciary – House Bill 274 – sponsored by Rep. Schroer (District 107). This bill requires children under the age of 18 to be prosecuted for most criminal offenses in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult. This is a priority of our Criminal Justice Task Force, so please contact the House Judiciary Committee with messages of support. Those who Tweet may also use this message: “#moleg – we need smarter policies that improve public safety and protect our youth. It’s time to pass #HB274 and #RaisetheAgeMO!” Please Follow @RaiseTheAgeMO on Twitter! You may also Tweet and Facebook Share Rep. Nick Schroer’s interview.

Wednesday, March 1

• Noon, Hearing Room 7, Health and Mental Health Policy – House Bill 437 – sponsored by Rep. Neely (District 8). This bill allows persons with certain serious medical conditions to use medical cannabis.

Senate Hearings:

Find Senate Committee members at: http://www.senate.mo.gov/standing-committees/

Tuesday, February 28

• 10:30 a.m., Senate Committee Room 1, Small Business and Industry – Senate Bill 205 – sponsored by Sen. Sifton (District 1). This bill prohibits paying any employee wages less than those paid to employees of the opposite gender for the same work performed under similar working conditions.
• At that same 10:30 hearing, Senate Bill 289 – sponsored by Sen. Nasheed (District 5). This allows tenants to terminate their lease or change the locks on the premises in certain situations of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. It is a positive bill, especially with an amendment added, according to our allies at Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
• Noon, Senate Committee Room 1, Education – Senate Bill 378 – sponsored by Sen. Wallingford (District 27). This act allows children who attend early childhood education programs that are under contract with school districts or charter schools that have declared themselves as a local education agency to be included in the average daily attendance of the school district or charter school. This is a priority bill for the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council of which Empower Missouri is a member.

Wednesday, March 1

• 8 a.m., Senate Lounge, Seniors, Families and Children – Senate Bill 291 – sponsored by Sen. Rowden (District 19). All state employees shall be given the option to take up to ten consecutive days of paid parental leave following either the birth of a child or the adoption of a child under age two. This is a family-supportive policy and a help to our state workers, still lowest paid in the nation.

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