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Rowland Report 3.8.12

Greetings from your State Capitol.  It was a tragic week in part of my district last week.  A tornado whipped out its destructive force on the landscape and structures that stood in its path.  I observed the sites on Thursday when returning to the district from Jefferson City and am “Thankful” that there were no fatalities in the district.  Others in the state, and other states, were not that fortunate.  My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all those individuals and communities as they piece their lives back together.  My phones are always open so please call if you need assistance.

This past week the House passed the following bills:

HB 1441 will lay out more specific rules for business and those filing for workers’ compensation benefits.  The Division of Workers’ Compensation within the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will send certain required notifications regarding workers compensation claims in a manner determined by the division electronically, by regular mail and everything in between.  This bill also requires a written certification to be submitted within ten days of the end of each quarter to be sent in by the claimant.  If they fail to do so, they will be ineligible to receive benefits until certification has been received by the division.

HJR 45 will provide Missouri Voters with the opportunity to change the current law dealing with lottery tickets.  If voters approve the proposal, the state lottery commission shall develop and begin selling a “Veteran’s Lottery Ticket.”  A Veteran’s Lottery Ticket will help create funds, but will not be a complete solution for the problem.  We will continue to search for a comprehensive solution.

HCS HB 1731 addresses the distribution of gaming moneys-at least 30.5% of the money received from the sale of lottery tickets must be appropriated to education with 27% to general education and 3.5% to early childhood development.  It also increases the portion of any remaining net proceeds in the Gaming Commission Fund to be transferred to the Missouri National Guard and the Veterans’ Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund.

HB 1318 will make sure that no employee in a mental health facility with maximum or medium security can be required to work more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period unless it is under a state of emergency declared by the Governor.

HB 1174 will authorize the State Board of Education within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to intervene and establish alternatives for a failing school district, no longer requiring them to wait two years before intervening.

HCS HB 1106 will require a county collector or collector-treasurer to reside in the county from which he or she was elected throughout his or her term of office.  It also requires a candidate for the position to be at least 21 years of age, a resident of the country for at least one year prior to the date of filing, a registered voter and to have paid all state income, personal, and real property taxes.

HB 1030 authorizes an amnesty from the assessment or payment of all penalties on unpaid taxes administered by the Department of Revenue.  A taxpayer participating in the amnesty program cannot be issued or allowed to renew any Missouri driver’s license or motor vehicle license plate until the entire balance due has been paid.  This is an excellent piece of good government policy that was overwhelmingly supported in a bipartisan manner this week.

HB 1139 allows a state employee who has not been a retiree of the Missouri State Employee’s Retirement System that is eligible to receive a normal or life annuity and terminates their employment on or after December 1, 2012, after reaching normal eligibility whose annuity commences on or after January 1, 2013 but no later than March 1, 2013, to be eligible to receive a years of service benefit.  For an eligible employee with at least 10 years of service, the incentive benefit will be an amount equal to $1,000 for each year of service up to a maximum of 20 years.  The benefit must be paid to the retiree in five equal installments beginning March 2013 and each March thereafter until all five installments have been paid.  An employee electing to take this retirement incentive is prohibited from any future employment with the state of Missouri.

It will be my prayer that our district has a calm week from Mother Nature’s Fury.  The legislature will start our spring break next week so it will be two weeks before my next article.  I hope everyone takes the time to rejoice in what we have.  Hopefully great weather will prevail for the rest of the year.

As always it is a privilege to represent you in State Government.