Presentation on theme: " Missouri lawmakers passed a $24-billion state budget for FY 2013 that begins July 1: The budget keeps funding stable for Missouri colleges and universities."— Presentation transcript:
Missouri lawmakers passed a $24-billion state budget for FY 2013 that begins July 1: The budget keeps funding stable for Missouri colleges and universities despite the governor’s call for $106-million in cuts State employees earning $70,000 or less will receive a 2% pay increase (lowest paid state workers in the nation) Senators restored health care program for 2,800 blind Missourians eliminated by House Missouri Veterans’ Nursing Homes will receive $30-million from casino boarding fees
Despite having the lowest cigarette tax in the nation at 17-cents per pack, lawmakers refused to consider a tobacco tax increase Lawmakers refused to consider an Internet Sales Tax which would even the playing field for our brick and mortar businesses Several Senate Republicans refused to consider a tax amnesty bill passed by the House which would have raised $70-million in GR funds The 2013 State Budget counts on an extra $35-million in lottery proceeds to balance – if that revenue fails to materialize, the Governor will be forced to withhold money in order to achieve a balanced budget.
Major Issues Not Addressed During 2012 Session: Economic Development K-12 School Funding Formula Ethics Reform Tobacco Tax Increase (MO lowest in nation) Internet Sales Tax Second Injury Fund St. Louis Firefighter Pensions Turner Fix (school transfer policies)
House Leaders devoted time for bills dealing with tanning salons, declaring Obamacare unconstitutional and honoring this individual in a secret ceremony behind locked doors:
Senate Bills 636 (Keaveny) & 628 (Schaeffer) both modify our criminal justice system in Missouri and await the Governor’s signature Both bills establish the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Both prohibit the Dept. of Revenue from releasing certain information about members of the judiciary Both bills lower the age where juvenile courts have jurisdiction to 15 years old Both bills modify the Qualified Spousal Trust
Senate Bills 636 and 628 also require the appointment of the St. Louis City Circuit Clerk and extend the collections for the Court Automation Fund SB 628 goes much further by dealing with the sentencing disparity in crack and powder cocaine charges, airport authorities, sexual misconduct and many other issues that could lead to a Hammerschmidt ruling by the courts
Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 creates the Joint Interim Committee on the Missouri Criminal Code Lawmakers have not revised the state’s criminal code in decades Missouri spends about $19,000 per year to house each inmate in the Dept. of Corrections The Committee will study alternate sentencing methods like “shock time” and other methods of returning non-violent offenders to society as tax-paying citizens in a prudent manner
Frustrated voters put an end to the Boss’s influence over Missouri’s Courts
During the 1930s, the public became increasingly dissatisfied with the increasing role of politics in judicial selection and judicial decision-making. Judges were plagued by outside influences due to the political aspects of the election process, and dockets were congested due to time the judges spent campaigning. In November 1940, voters amended the Missouri constitution by adopting the "Nonpartisan Selection of Judges Court Plan," which was placed on the ballot by initiative petition. The adoption of the plan resulted from a public backlash against the widespread abuses of the judicial system by the "Boss Tom" Pendergast political machine in Kansas City and by the political control exhibited by ward bosses in St. Louis.
Senate Joint Resolution 51 would take us part of the way back to the “bad old days” when politics played a large role in our judiciary SJR 51, if approved by voters, would give the governor more control over the selection of judges to serve on the state Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals It allows the governor to appoint 4 of the 7 members of the judicial selection committee, compared to his appointment of 3 of the 7 members now Republicans contend the current Missouri Plan gives too much power to trial lawyers and leaves voters with no one to hold responsible for judicial rulings they dislike
Missouri lawmakers approved legislation allowing employers to refuse to provide health insurance that covers contraception, abortion or sterilization if those services go against an employer’s religious or moral beliefs Lawmakers sent a measure to voters asking whether the governor should be allowed to establish a state-based health care exchange required under the Affordable Care Act The House passed and the Senate actually debated a bill declaring the ACA unconstitutional and setting criminal penalties for anyone who tries to enforce the new health care law
The top priorities of the Senate President Pro Tem were to make Missouri a Right-to-Work state and to eliminate prevailing wage Missouri Democrats and urban Republicans, backed by labor leaders and rank-and-file union members, teamed up to kill both bills Both measures would have lowered wages and benefits for working men and women Studies consistently show right-to-work states have to offer millions in state tax incentives to lure new businesses (right-to-work is not a factor)
A bill to speed up and improve the process when a school district becomes unaccredited was held hostage by House leaders on the last day for a Senate vote to end teacher tenure, leaving 18,000 KC students in limbo Senators rejected efforts to eliminate the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UMSL SB 576 expands charter schools statewide under certain conditions and strengthens accountability standards for charter schools
Turner Fix: lawmakers still have to find a solution for students in unaccredited school districts who want to attend accredited schools The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in July 2010 that students in failing districts could attend school in adjoining counties, at the expense of the unaccredited school district. The case is commonly known as Turner v. School District of Clayton, after its original plaintiff, parent Jane Turner of St. Louis. However, in the latest round, the lead plaintiff is Gina Breitenfeld of St. Louis. She is seeking tuition reimbursement for her children, who attend Clayton schools.
Funding Formula: the 2005 Foundation Formula is under-funded and will fall further behind its stated goals each year In May, DESE announced the methodology by which the under-funded formula will be distributed. In short, the department split the difference between pro-rating equally using the full state adequacy target (SAT) calculations and deflating the SAT in order to fully account for the under-funding.
Senate Bill 572 changed Missouri’s workers’ compensation system by making occupational diseases exclusively covered under workers' compensation laws, taking away a worker’s right to seek redress in civil court. Gov. Nixon vetoed the bill March 16. House Bill 1219 radically changed Missouri’s Employment Discrimination laws by making employees prove discrimination was a “motivating” factor rather than a “contributing” factor in an employee’s dismissal or sanction; it also weakened Missouri’s whistleblower protections. Gov. Nixon vetoed the bill March 16.
Education issues will remain front and center in the next session. It is imperative we fix the school funding formula and deal with unaccredited school districts. I anticipate we will spend hours debating revisions to Missouri’s Criminal Code, a process that is long overdue. Tax Credit Reform may finally move forward now that several opponents are leaving due to term limits. We will have to deal with the Second Injury Fund and find ways to improve the state public defender system that has reached a breaking point