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Capitol Report                        April 2, 2020
Dear Neighbor,

The Capitol remained closed this week as the COVID-19 threat remains real.  At this time, all employees in the Capitol are on administrative leave until April 17th.  Donna and I are both working from home and it has been challenging given the number of calls and emails we are receiving from my constituents.  The legislature hopes to reconvene in the Capitol on April 8th, however, House and Senate leadership continue to assess the situation to ensure it is safe for legislative activities to resume inside the building.

The federal economic aid checks covered by the CARES Act, passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump last Friday.  Many of you are wondering when you will receive your payment.  
The state of Missouri does not play a role in sending these checks. That will be done by the IRS and U.S. Treasury.

The IRS provided initial guidance on what you need to know about receiving your check. That information is on the IRS website here. You might consider sharing this resource with your family and friends via email or social media.

As of 3:30 PM today (4/2/20), there were 1834 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri and 19 deaths.  That is up from 1581 confirmed cases and 18 deaths reported at the same time the previous day.

In a press conference held yesterday, the governor stated he is going to withhold $180 million in spending authority from the FY 2020 state budget to help counter an expected $500 million revenue shortfall over the fiscal year’s final three months. The governor said he’s hopeful $315 million in anticipated relief funds from the federal government will cover the rest of the gap.

The governor gave no specifics about what will be cut, other than to say the cuts will come from the following departments: higher education, transportation, the Office of Administration, natural resources and economic development. He also said the judicial branch and the Secretary of State’s Office have identified some savings within their respective budget.

According to a story published earlier in the day by The Kansas City Star and citing state budget documents, higher education will take the biggest hit, with four-year colleges and universities losing $61 million and community colleges another $11 million.

The story said other withholds will include $54 million from the facilities maintenance fund, $12 million for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and $6.4 million for tourism.

State Budget Director Dan Haug said the revenue shortfall will also require major changes to the state operating budget for FY 2021, which begins July 1, and could also impact FY 2022.

The National Guard is evaluating using sports arenas and other large facilities around Missouri as emergency hospitals, if it becomes necessary.  Those sites included Kemper Arena in Kansas City and the Silverstein (Independence) Events Center.

The Department of Corrections won’t be furloughing non-violent prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among prisoners and staff in the close confines of Missouri Prisons anytime soon.

Gov. Parson stated, “I want to be clear: We have no intention of releasing incarcerated individuals at this time. We will continue to take necessary steps to protect their health and safety within our correctional facilities."  Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe said that there were no known cases of COVID-19 at any of the state’s prisons. She said one inmate had tested positive while hospitalized off-site, and remains hospitalized, though he has since tested negative twice.

When Gov. Parson was asked if he’s looked at statistical models of the spread of COVID-19 in Missouri with a statewide stay-at-home order in place versus the spread without such an order, the governor said he had and remains unconvinced that a statewide order is necessary at this time.

Please be safe and I continue to wish for your good health and  I thank you for the opportunity to serve,

Rich

LAWMAKERS TO RETURN TO PASS SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
 
The Missouri General Assembly is planning to briefly return to work in the coming days to pass a supplemental appropriations bill that will give the state the legal authority to spend incoming federal money to address the COVID-19 pandemic during the final three months of the 2020 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
 
Although the Capitol is typically bustling with legislative activity this time of year, lawmakers have suspended their annual session to avoid spreading the illness. Other than procedural sessions with only a handful of lawmakers present, the Senate hasn’t met since March 12, while the House of Representatives has been out since March 18.
 
The House’s last order of business before leaving was to pass a supplemental appropriations bill granting spending authority for various needs for the remainder of FY 2020. While the measure, House Bill 2014 includes $33 million in emergency spending authority related to the pandemic, House Democratic argued that amount is woefully inadequate to meet the needs caused by the crisis. Majority House Republicans dismissed those concerns.
 
When the Senate Appropriations Committee meets on April 7, it is expected to rewrite the HB 2014 to significantly bolster COVID-19 related spending. The full Senate is expected to convene the morning of April 8 to approve the bill, which would to go back to the House later that day for final passage.
 
Both chambers are taking steps to minimize interactions between lawmakers, including instructing most legislative staff to stay at home and asking that lawmakers remain isolated in their offices except when voting. Since the Missouri Constitution requires legislative proceedings to be open, members of the public will be allowed in the House and Senate visitor galleries but no other areas of the Capitol, including member offices. Instead of attending in person, however, the public is encouraged to watch proceedings from home via live streams on the House and Senate websites.
 
In addition to HB 2014, the Senate is expected to grant final passage to House Bill 2456, which would extend until 2022 a special tax that allows the state to leverage more federal Medicaid dollars. The tax is slated to expire in September and needs to be renewed to avoid a tremendous hit to state health care spending.
 

Once lawmakers wrap up business on April 8, it is unclear when the session will resume. Pursuant the state constitution, this year’s session ends at 6 p.m. on May 15, with the deadline for passing the FY 2021 a week earlier on May 8. If lawmakers aren’t able to safely return, however, the governor could call a special session in June to finish the budget and consider any other priorities.
Two persons whom I had direct contact with have been confirmed to have the Coronovirus.  As a precaution, I was tested and my results were negative.  Please use caution and stay safe.

Resources for Unemployed Workers and Employers

As employment decisions are being made, the Missouri Department of Labor created a Frequently Asked Questions webpage that includes information on shared leave programs to help prevent loss of wages during layoffs, and information about filing claims for unemployment.

A legislative request was made asking the Missouri Department of Labor to waive the waiting week for unemployment benefits so that Missouri workers who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 receive unemployment benefits in a timely manner. An official decision to waive the week of waiting has not been made at this time.

Unemployed workers could get more than 100% of their paycheck under the coronavirus bill


KEY POINTS
  • The coronavirus relief bill, formally the CARES Act, gives jobless workers an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits.
  •  
  • The goal is to provide the average out-of-work American with 100% wage replacement.
  •  
  • Some people, primarily those making low and moderate incomes, could make more while unemployed than while working. 

 

Jackson County judge suspends evictions for 30 days amid coronavirus

by:

Posted: Mar 19, 2020 / 05:33 PM CDT / Updated: Mar 19, 2020 / 06:04 PM CDT
 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A circuit court judge has ordered the temporary suspension of evictions, among other writs created by the court, during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The order, signed on March 19 by Judge David Byrn, directed the court clerk to delay issuing writs of execution. Those writs include restitution, which evict people from their property, and writs of replevin, which mandate a return of property.

Circuit judge Dale Youngs, who is familiar with the order, said the it came after multiple days of trying to figure out how best to address the situation regarding ongoing cases, some already months old, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here

If you have a federally backed mortgage or live in federally funded housing, additional information regarding a federal moritorium on evictions can be found here.


President Trump Approves Governor Parson’s Request for Major Disaster Declaration to Support Missouri’s Coronavirus Response

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – President Donald Trump approved Governor Mike Parson’s request for a federal major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri.The President approved Governor Parson’s request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program be utilized to reimburse eligible expenditures made by local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the state for emergency protective measures by first responders and others responding to the coronavirus.  Governor Parson’s request for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling are still under review. Also under review is the Governor’s request for federal hazard mitigation assistance to identify and reduce long-term risks associated with natural disasters. 

“I appreciate the President acting quickly on my disaster declaration request and the commitment of federal resources as we battle this unprecedented public health and economic threat to Missourians,” Governor Parson said. “As I’ve said throughout our COVID-19 response effort, we will continue to pursue every way possible to adapt and deliver additional resources to help protect the health of Missourians and promote long-term recovery.”

Governor Parson requested the federal disaster declaration on Tuesday, March 24.  On March 13, Governor Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri and activated the State Emergency Operations Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 21, Governor Parson directed Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams to order social distancing statewide. Dr. Williams limited social gatherings in Missouri to no more than 10 people; directed Missourians to avoid eating or drinking in restaurants, bars, or food courts; and ordered that schools remain closed. Last week, Governor Parson’s request for low-interestfederal disaster loans for Missouri small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 was approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.     
 
Wash Your Hands - Cover Your Cough - Stay Home If You Are Sick
Coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline is open and can be reached at 877-435-8411. It is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Click here to read all bills that have had actions in the House so far this legislative session.

Coronavirus and sex:
What you need to know

Deadline extended for Missouri driver's license, plate renewals

 

As tighter restrictions were announced to practice social distancing, the Missouri Department of Revenue is extending deadlines on renewing driver licenses, vehicle registrations and license plates.

Extensions for driver license, nondriver license and noncommercial instruction permits applies for those where the date falls between March 1 and April 30.

This includes those needing a vehicle safety and emission inspection. 

Drivers who have expiring license will be given two-month extensions and will be allowed to continue driving on Missouri roads without penalty until they can apply for renewal.

This order does not waive the mandatory retesting requirement for persons who have allowed their license to expire for more than 184 days.

As of the time I have sent this mailing, there have been
51 homicides in the Kansas City metro area in 2020.

In Kansas City, Missouri, 38 people have been killed.

Click here for the Homicide Tracker.

COMMUNITY NEWS AND HAPPENINGS

THE CENSUS IS COMING - IT MATTERS!

Every ten years the federal government conducts the decennial census which collects basic information from every household in the United States. 

You will start receiving census forms in the mail as early as March 12.  Responding via mail or online is the most efficient way to have your household members counted.  There are 9 total questions for you, and 7 additional questions per family member.  You will not be asked to disclose anyone's social security number. 


Your Census Information is PROTECTED By Law!  Read the Law from the U.S. Census Bureau here.
 
With an accurate count of Missouri residents, we receive money back from the federal government in the amount of about $16 billion annually!  That's correct, $16 billion per year for the next ten years to support our roads, our hospitals, our schools, transportation and more! 

When you, your family members or neighbors do not reply to the census, we lose $1,300 per person per year!  That adds up.  Everyone needs to be counted:  children, seniors, citizens, residents, students, documented and undocumented immigrants, homeowners and renters.  Every single person in our state who gets counted helps us receive the resources we need to make Missouri's infrastructure stronger. 

This is the first year the U.S. Census Bureau is accepting responses online, and you can still respond by phone or mail if you prefer.  In May, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin following up in-person with households that have not yet responded. You can learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting
2020census.gov
To get additional information about the census in your specific community, please view this interactive map.
 

The reward has been raised to
$30,000 for Dominic

GREATER KANSAS CITY CRIME STOPPERS
816-474-TIPS HOTLINE
 
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
FROM:           Det. Kevin Boehm, Crime Stoppers Coordinator
 
SUBJECT:    Reward Increase – 9 Year Old Dominic Young Homicide
 
KANSAS CITY, MO ---  The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and the Greater KC Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline continue to seek information in the January 20, 2018 homicide of 9 year old Dominic Young Jr. at 71 Highway and Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.
 
  Dominic Young Jr. was apparently hit by a stray gunshot while occupying a vehicle driven by his father and died as a result of his injuries.  Dominic, his father and brother were en route to Grandview at the time.  The vehicle driven by Dominic’s father was hit by gunshots from other vehicles apparently engaged in a gunfight according to statements.
 
  KCPD found a possible crime scene near the intersection where the father said the shooting happened.  When the father arrived home in Grandview, Dominic was not responsive.  Grandview police initially responded to the father’s home and found the boy in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

 A number of community leaders and organizations including State Representative Richard Brown, Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McManus, former City Councilmen Scott Taylor, Scott Wagner, John Sharp; the City of KCMO and Concord Fortress of Hope Church (Pastor Ron Lindsay) have come forward to increase the existing reward in the case up to $30,000.00.  Those leaders are available for comment in regard to the case.
 
  Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Greater Kansas City TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477), TIPS may also be submitted electronically at www.KCcrimestoppers.com, or by downloading our NEW mobile app, P3TIPS, on Google Play or the Apple iOS stores for FREE.  Information leading to an arrest and/or filing of charges could be eligible for up to $30,000.00 in reward money.  ALL INFORMATION IS ANONYMOUS. 
* A program of the KC Metropolitan Crime Commission
My office in Jefferson City is available to assist you with questions you may have about state government or legislative issues. Please call, email or write anytime. If you are unable to reach me, my assistant, Donna Gentzsch is ready to help you. If you are in Jefferson City, come by my Capitol office in room 109-G, and introduce yourself. The door is always open and I encourage you to visit.
Please forward this email to your friends and family who want to know how what is happening in Jefferson City will impact them here at home.



Rep. Richard Brown
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue
Room 109G
Jefferson City, MO  65101
Phone
573-751-7639
Email:
richard.brown@house.mo.gov
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any feedback, questions or ideas!​
 
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Missouri House of Representatives · 201 W. Capitol Ave. · Jefferson City, MO 65101 · USA

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