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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.
Capitol Report                        March 19, 2020
Dear Neighbor,
 
With the Coronavirus scare increasing every day, please be safe and take care of your loved ones.  Hoping for things to get back to normal soon.

This week, the House of Representatives only met Wednesday as the Senate was closed for the week.  We managed to authorize $33 million in spending authority for COVID-19 emergency spending (HB 2014), however, I believe it was a very low amount of money compared to what the real need may be.  I was in favor of passing an amendment to give Governor Parson the authority to spend more money if needed.  The spending authority does not mean that the governor would spend the money, it only means that he would have the authority if such an emergency arose he would have the ability and authority to do so,  HB 2014 will now be sent to the Senate for their approval.


The House will not be in session next week as we are on our regularly scheduled break.  We are scheduled to return on March 30th, however, we are monitoring the Coronavirus situation daily to determine what is best for the health of all persons inside the Capitol Building.

At this time, there is no Capitol Report scheduled for distribution next week.

Wishing you and your family good health!

Yours in Service,


Rich
HOUSE BLOCKS ATTEMPTS
TO BOLSTER COVID-19 FUNDING
 
While debating legislation to provide supplemental state appropriations for the remainder of the current fiscal year, majority Republicans on March 18 rejected Democratic efforts to increase the spending authority the state might need in the coming months as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
House Bill 2014, which eventually passed on a voted of 147-3-1, contains new spending authority for various aspects of government that wasn’t included in the original fiscal year 2020 state operating budget lawmakers enacted last spring. FY 2020 runs through June 30.
 
Although HB 2014 includes $33 million in spending authority targeted for the state’s COVID-19 response, House Democrats argued, based on the needs seen in other states, that amount could prove woefully insufficient. Democrats offered several amendments to increase available resources, including one for another $87 million in spending authority, to better prepare the state for whatever unfolds in the coming months.
 
While a budget appropriation provides the necessary legal authority to spend money, it doesn’t require money to be spent. Nonetheless, Republican lawmakers defeated all attempts to further boost emergency spending, arguing it’s too early to tell if additional funding will be needed. State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, dismissed Democratic efforts to better prepare the state as “doomsday discussion.”
 
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, expressed frustration that state leaders have been slow to react to the crisis, quick to make excuses for not doing more and prone to defer actions to local officials or the federal government. She noted that all the proposals Democrats offered to bolster Missouri’s response are already being implemented in other states.
 
“Missouri is always the last to do things” Quade said. “This is not the time to wait.”
 
In addition to the FY 2020 supplemental spending bill, the House had been expected to pass its version of the $30.9 billion state operating budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1. In fact, the House Budget Committee had met earlier in the week during a marathon session to ready the FY 2021 budget bills for debate by the full House.
 
Less than a day before that debate was to begin, however, Republican leaders opted to delay action until the legislature reconvenes, which isn’t expected until at least early April. The delay was largely due to the expectation that revenue collections will fall well short of previous estimates since much of the state’s economy is shutting down as people isolate themselves. As a result, significant budget cuts likely will be needed.
 
Once the budget bills clear the House, the Senate will craft its own version of the measures. Lawmakers face a May 8 constitutional deadline for finishing the budget.
 

LEGISLATURE, COURTS, SCHOOLS
CLOSE DUE TO VIRUS
 
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri continues to rise, the April municipal elections have been postponed until June, many local public school districts are shutting down for at least a few weeks, state courts are largely closed to in-person proceedings as the state legislature has taken a hiatus.
 
Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order on March 13 declaring a state of emergency relating to COVID-19, but at the time expressed caution about overreacting and said decisions such as limiting large gatherings and closing schools should be made at the local level. Within days, many local officials had implemented such steps and most, but not all, of Missouri’s 518 public school districts had closed or were planning to.
 
With the April 7 municipal elections looming, Parson issued another executive order on March 18 postponing them until June 2. There had been concerns about the safety risks to both voters in general and poll workers in particular, since older people tend to be hardest hit by the virus and many poll workers are retirees.
 
Later on March 18 during one of his now-daily press briefings on the crisis, Parson, a conservative Republican, stressed that it will be up to actions of individual Missourians, not the actions of state government, to minimize the impact of COVID-19.
 
“It comes down to personal responsibility,” Parson said. “We can make all the laws that you want to make, but at the end of the day, this virus will be on the conduct of the Missouri citizens. What are they willing to take upon themselves? What are they willing to make a difference on? Those are what’s important.”
 
Parson has said most executive branch offices will remain open to ensure Missourians retain access to necessary state services. The legislative and judicial branches of government, however, will largely be closed.
 
On March 16, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order suspending in-person proceedings in all appellate and circuit courts through April 3, with the possibility that the order may be extended as circumstances warrant. Electronic filings and proceedings that don’t require physical attendance will continue.
 
The General Assembly is likewise taking a break, but for how long remains to be seen. While the Senate adjourned on March 12, the House stayed in session for another week before shutting down on March 19. Both chambers currently are scheduled to return March 30, but House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, said in a March 18 news conference it’s unlikely that will happen.
This was the Capitol at 11:00 AM on Wednesday.  It was eerily quiet and empty as the building was free of visitors, lobbyists and staff due to the Covid 19 warnings.

Governor Parson Announces April 7 Municipal Elections Postponed Until June 2 in Response to COVID-19 
 
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Pursuant to Governor Mike Parson’s Executive Order 20-02 declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19 and a request from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Governor Parson today signed Executive Order 20-03 ordering all Missouri municipal elections previously scheduled for April 7, 2020, to be postponed to June 2, 2020.

The Executive Order declares that ballots already printed for the April 7 election may be used at the postponed date of June 2. Voters who have attained the age of 18 by April 7 will be allowed to cast a ballot. 

“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Governor Parson said. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together. We are thankful to Secretary Ashcroft and our 116 election authorities for their leadership, cooperation, and commitment to doing what is best for their communities during this time.”

“I deeply appreciate Governor Parson’s quick approval and am thankful to the local election authorities – your county clerks and boards of election – who have worked through developing health concerns to find a unified and secure means of implementing our next election,” Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said. “Missouri has 116 separate election authorities, almost all who are elected in their own right, and we have come together to help protect Missouri voters. These are difficult times, but I am grateful for how we have responded, worked together and come to a resolution that helps every single Missouri voter.”

Section 44.100, RSMo, provides that during a state of emergency, the Governor is authorized to “waive or suspend the operation of any statutory requirement or administrative rule prescribing procedures for conducting state business, where strict compliance with such requirements and rules would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action by the department of health and senior services to respond to a declared emergency or increased health threat to the population.”
The Executive Order requires local election authorities to publish notice of the June 2 election as required in Section 115.127.2, RSMo. In addition, the Executive Order states:
  • The closing date to register to vote in this election remains March 11.
  • The deadline for filing as a write-in candidate for office remains March 27 at 5 p.m.
  • The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot (Section 115.279, RSMo) shall be May 20.
  • A public test of voting equipment shall be completed no later than June 1.
  • In-person absentee ballots may be cast until 5 p.m. on June 1.
  • The deadline by which absentee ballots must be received by the election authority (Section 115.293.1, RSMo) shall be 7 p.m. on June 2.
  • Military and overseas voters must request a ballot from an election authority by 5 p.m. on May 29, and the deadline for local election authorities to make ballots available to such voters is April 18. Military and overseas ballots must be received by the election authority by June 5.
  • Local election authorities are also directed to post information on their website, use social media if available, issue press release, conduct public appearances, and directly contact stakeholders such as candidates.
 
###

Will coronavirus outbreak finally convince Missouri lawmakers to allow early voting?

BY THE KANSAS CITY STAR EDITORIAL BOARD
MARCH 17, 2020 05:00 AM 

Missouri lawmakers must enable early voting for elections in August and November.

They should do it as quickly as possible so local election boards can prepare to accept more early ballots. The state should also pay the cost of early voting.

Without good reason, Missouri has long resisted allowing early voting, which would give voters the option of casting ballots in person before Election Day or submitting advance ballots by mail without an excuse. Forty states will provide early voting as a convenience for their citizens this year.

Missouri is not among them. Now, that failing isn’t just an inconvenience — it’s a clear threat to public health.

Everyone hopes the coronavirus threat will recede before this year’s elections, but scientists have been clear: The danger will not disappear. Prudent social distancing will still be important. And in a presidential election year, Missouri’s crowded polling stations will be a real threat to transmit disease.

More than 2.7 million Missourians cast presidential ballots in November 2016. Many voters stood in close proximity, stuck in slow-moving lines for hours.

Dealing with that kind of rush will be especially troublesome in 2020, both in Missouri’s August primaries and in the November general election. Many poll workers are older, the people most susceptible to viral infection. Finding enough workers will be even tougher.

Even a slim possibility of contracting COVID-19 could depress turnout, cheating eligible voters out of their right to be heard.

Early voting could reduce some of the risk. “We need to protect and ensure the right of every Missourian the right to vote, regardless of whether the person has job responsibilities, or childcare issues, or the country is facing a global pandemic,” said state Missouri Sen. Lauren Arthur, a Democrat, in an email.

Missouri county clerks Shane Schoeller and Brianna Lennon — one a Republican, the other a Democrat — issued a joint press release Sunday urging the legislature to act.

“Current Missouri law does not proactively serve voters,” they said.

Both urged lawmakers to give election boards flexibility “in the event of a declared emergency.” Early voting should be made permanent, but at an absolute minimum, no-excuse absentee and early voting should be required this year.

How might it work? Kansas provides a good template: Voters can ask for a mail-in ballot for any reason and can either return it in person or by mail. Early in-person voting is allowed up to 20 days before Election Day, or starting the Tuesday before Election Day, depending on the county.

Early voting at satellite locations is permissible. While those polling places are often crowded, they provide some relief from the crush of Election Day itself. In Kansas, more than 450,000 ballots were cast before Election Day in 2016.

Some opponents of early voting claim it harms voters who cast ballots before the end of campaigns — this year’s turbulent Democratic presidential primary, they say, is a good example. While that concern is valid, it doesn’t outweigh the problems that come with forcing everyone to vote on the same day.

There is no legitimate reason to deny Missourians the option to vote early or to cast a no-excuse absentee ballot.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has a special responsibility here. He has fiercely rejected claims that he tries to manipulate the state’s election procedures for partisan advantage, and like many Republicans, he has resisted early voting in the past.

Ashcroft now has a chance to prove Missourians’ safety is more important than political ambition. To his credit, he is talking with local election officials about these issues.

Congress may also consider requiring no-excuse mail-in voting, something elections expert Rick Hasen has recommended. The plan has merit, but Missouri should not wait for Washington to act. Instead, state lawmakers should move forward immediately.

Free, fair elections are the centerpiece of representative self-government. A worldwide pandemic will disrupt our lives but should not prevent all voters from being heard this year.

Click here to read all bills that have had actions in the House so far this legislative session.
Missouri Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline by calling 1-800-392-8222 or you can file a complaint online.

DHSS and the CDC are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).


Click on the pictures below for more information:

Do You Have Your Real ID?
Chat with a representative from the Department of Revenue concerning Real ID here
MO Tax Filing Now Open
 
The Department of Revenue is now accepting electronically filed state tax returns for tax year 2019. The filing deadline for both state and federal income tax returns is April 15th.
 

Free Electronic Filing
 
Many Missourians qualify for free e-filing services through the Free File Alliance, a system which allows taxpayers to file both federal and state taxes for no cost.  For more information on how to file online for free, visit the IRS Free File website or the Department of Revenue's Online Filing resource page.
Important KCMO tax updates and deadlines
 
Tax season is just around the corner, and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, is reminding businesses and residents about a few important 2019 tax-year updates and deadlines.
 
New Tax Forms are available online

The current 2019 tax information on City tax requirements is available
online .
 
File Online

You can file and pay all required City taxes anytime using our
Quick Tax system. If you use Quick Tax, you can ensure timely and accurate processing of tax returns and payments. With Quick Tax, you can also view all tax-related activity on your account including filings, payments and tax notifications.
 
Mark the Calendar

April 15, 2020
            2019 Wage Earner Earnings Tax and Extensions Deadline
            2019 Calendar Year Profits Earnings Tax and Extensions Deadline
 
Media inquiries may be directed to Commissioner of Revenue Mari Ruck, 816-513-4990.

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

In Kansas City, Missouri, 33 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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