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Capitol Report                        May 19, 2020
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Dear Neighbor,

The legislative session under extraordinary circumstances has came to a close.

In the final week of the Regular Legislative Session, the legislature as a whole failed you.  Instead of working to help those Missourians that have found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19, instead of finding a way to fix our highways and bridges, instead of passing a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (we are the only state without one), or instead of helping those Missourians who are without healthcare, we failed you.

Instead, the Republican led House passed SJR 38 which is a plan to overturn "Clean Missouri." Amendment 1 was overwhelmingly approved by Missouri voters last year dealing with redistricting legislative boundaries within the state.  Wednesday’s 98-58 vote means a constitutional amendment will be placed on the statewide ballot later this year that, if approved by voters, would toss out a process that calls for a nonpartisan state demographer to draw legislative maps with a goal for districts to be as competitive as possible. 

I voted NO on this bill.  The voters spoke loud and clear on this subject and I voted to protect the ballots you cast.

Yours in Service,

Rich

Voters will get to decide on
Clean Missouri …. again

BY CAMERON GERBER ON MAY 13, 2020 
The Missouri TImes
 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House passed legislation making changes to Clean Missouri during its last week of session

SJR 38 was truly agreed to and finally passed (TAFP’d) after several hours of debate Wednesday, putting Clean Missouri before voters once again. 

SJR 38 would make changes to the voter-approved Clean Missouri, ban lobbyist gifts to legislators altogether, and lower campaign contribution limits. It also includes provisions on redistricting. 

Debate over the bill was extensive and included passionate discussion covering the legitimacy of the issue in the time of a pandemic, gerrymandering, partisanship in actions meant to be nonpartisan, conflicts along party lines, and racial representation and power in the voting process. 

“I’m not gonna sit idly by as Missourians get run over by billionaires and special interests,” House handler Rep. Dean Plocher said in his closing statement.

Continue Reading


Legislation passed during this condensed session during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a normal session I would be giving you a rundown on legislation that has been Truly Agreed.  But due to this abbreviated and fast-tracked legislative session as a result of COVID-19, complex legislative issues have been piled on top of each other in omnibus bills. 

Some of these bills have hundreds of pages and were passed in a legislative hurry. 
Because of this, I am going to hold off reporting on most of these bills for a couple of weeks until I feel I can express what is good and what is not so good for my constituents. I am not sure that any bills passed without the proper channels of the legislative process is a good idea.
MY POINT ON PASSING BILLS IN A HURRY . . . . . . . . 

HOW MANY MORE BILLS PASSED COULD HAVE UNINTENTIONAL CONSEQUENCES??


SENATE PASSES TRANSPORTATION BILL, THEN KILLS IT
 
In a highly unusual turn of events, the Senate on May 14 voted to grant final passage to an omnibus transportation bill but then changed its mind and killed the bill before it could be formally sent to governor for consideration.
 
In the morning, the Senate voted 29-2 in favor of Senate Bill 782, which originally was a short bill limited to boating safety identification cards but was transformed by the House of Representatives into a massive omnibus measure containing dozens of other provisions loosely relating to transportation.
 
Hours after final passage, however, deceptively worded language was discovered in the bill that could have blocked the Grain Belt Express power transmission project across northern Missouri and also increased costs for all other power utilities in the state. After years of court challenges, the Grain Belt project has been cleared to proceed, but some conservative lawmakers are still trying to stop it on behalf of property owners who don’t want the power lines to run through their property.
 
Once the deception was discovered, the Senate voted 29-0 shortly before 11 p.m. to reverse its previous vote, thus killing not only the offending provision but every other piece of legislation that had been rolled into SB 782.
LAWMAKERS RAISE THE LEGAL BAR
FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES
 
The House of Representatives voted 98-51 on May 12 to grant final passage to legislation making it more difficult for successful plaintiffs in civil lawsuits to recover punitive damages. The Senate previously approved the measure by a vote of 21-9.
 
Senate Bill 591 substantially raises the burden of proof in order to win punitive damages, which allow a jury to punish a civil defendant for particularly egregious behavior that harmed the plaintiff. The bill also imposes additional hurdles to bringing lawsuits under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, the state’s main consumer protection law.
STATE SCHOOL BOARD
AUTHORIZES EARLIER SCHOOL START
 
Public school districts that wish to start the 2020-2021 school year earlier than allowed under a new state law will be able to do so under temporary authority granted to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven to waive the requirement, according to the Missourinet.
 
The Missouri State Board of Education on May 12 voted allow districts the option for an earlier start to the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the strong possibility of a second wave hitting in the fall that could again force schools to close for several weeks.
 
Under a state law enacted last year, public schools can begin the academic year no earlier than two weeks before Labor Day, or Aug. 24 this year. However, the law empowers the state school board to waive the requirement if there are “highly unusual and extenuating circumstances justifying exemption.”
 
When the issue came before the legislature last year, proponents said with many districts increasingly pushing up start dates to early August, it has hurt tourism-based businesses by cutting vacation season short and depriving them of  teenage workers. Opponents argued that local districts are best positioned to determine what works best for their students and communities.

SNAP and Food Stamps can be used for online grocery shopping in Missouri

MISSOURINET MAY 14, 2020 BY 


The Missouri Department of Social Services says SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits households can use an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to buy food online from Amazon and Walmart, and other retailers might be added.
 
To get started with online purchasing, Food Stamp/SNAP participants can connect directly with the online store. A DSS spokeswoman says this can help reduce the stress of possible exposure to coronavirus.
 
The benefits cannot cover any delivery fee or other associated charges.
 
The USDA also approved Disaster Household Distribution now through June 6, 2020.
 
Food Stamp/SNAP recipients can view Buying Groceries Online with your EBT Card FAQs to get more information about this new option.

 
As of April 30, 2020, about 361 thousand Missouri households get SNAP benefits.

I followed all precautions and social distancing during these last two weeks of session to protect myself and my fellow colleagues just as I did during the week I was up here during the supplemental budget process.

I must say I was disappointed with the social distancing legislators practiced these last two weeks of the legislative session. The House Chambers were regularly crowded with representatives sitting or standing close to each other and increasingly fewer lawmakers wearing masks.
Unclaimed Property:
Missouri's Largest Lost & Found 
 

About Unclaimed Property

The Missouri State Treasurer holds $1 billion in Unclaimed Property for Missouri in more than 5 million owner accounts. Each year financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations turn over millions of dollars in cash and the contents of safe deposit boxes to the Treasurer’s Office. These entities are required to turn over Unclaimed Property to the State Treasurer’s Office after there has been no document transaction or contact with the owner for five years. One in ten Missourians has Unclaimed Property, and the average return is $300.

A review of the Unclaimed Property database indicates the State Treasurer is currently holding $5,356,706.24 belonging to approximately 51,679 account owners in my district.  Banks, businesses, and insurance companies turn over Unclaimed Property to me after accounts have been inactive and owners cannot be successfully contacted for a statutorily defined period of time, generally five years.

Account owners can file a claim online or request a paper claim be mailed to them at any time by visiting www.ShowMeMoney.com.  By law, specific dollar amounts that exceed $50 are not public record.
 

Practice Social Distancing

Ga. church closes two weeks after reopening as families come down with coronavirus


A Georgia church that reopened after shutting down due to the coronavirus has axed in-person services again in what they describe as “an effort of extreme caution” as several of their families have become infected by the deadly disease.

Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle, an independent Baptist church led by Pastor Justin Gazaway in Ringgold, Georgia, restarted in-person services on April 26. Church representative Joan Lewis told The Christian Post on Monday, however, that they decided to suspend “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” on May 11 after learning several families had contracted the virus.

Continue Reading
Although the state of Missouri has begun the process of reopening, the pandemic is not over.  I cotinue to practice all precautions against COVID-19 including wearing a mask and social distancing.  I am observing the proceedings from the side galleries as many of my colleagues are not following those guidelines as you can see from this photo inside the House Chamber.
As of the time I have sent this mailing, there have been
83 homicides in the Kansas City metro area in 2020.

In Kansas City, Missouri, 60 people have been killed.

Click here for the Homicide Tracker.

COMMUNITY NEWS AND HAPPENINGS

COVID-19 TESTING


 
Swope Health will offer COVID-19 testing
at no cost to individuals who:
  • Are experiencing symptoms of the disease that started within the last 14 days: cough, shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Do not have symptoms but had close contact or exposure to someone with COVID-19 over the past 14 days.
  • Do not have symptoms but are considered high-risk, including those with an underlying disease or condition that can weaken the immune system, healthcare or daycare personnel, individuals older than age 65, and persons living with a disability.
  • May 20: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Concord Fortress of Hope Church, 11050 W. Longview Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64134
  • May 21: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Holy Name Catholic Church, 16 S. Iowa St., Kansas City, KS, 66103, for Wyandotte County residents only.
  • May 26: Salvation Army for members of the homeless community only.
  • May 27: Southeast High School, 3500 E. Meyer Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64132.
 

LEARN MORE: COVID-19 Testing

Grocery store, restaurant, retail planned for old Kmart near Cerner in south Kansas City

BY JOYCE SMITH Kansas City Star

MAY 11, 2020 

The new Pioneer Plaza redevelopment in south Kansas City wants to add a much needed amenity for the area — an updated grocery store.

Balls Food Stores in Kansas City, Kansas, plans to open a 48,976-square-foot Price Chopper on the east side of the former Kmart center on East Bannister Road. It is going through city planning for a 2021 opening. The location is near the Cerner campus.

5615 E. Bannister Road LLC purchased the center in 2014. It has since put in a 74,956-square-foot CubeSmart self storage center. About 16,600 square feet of retail is being proposed to go along CubeSmart’s facade.

A freestanding 3,000-square-foot restaurant with drive-thru will be along Bannister Road. Another frontage lot is available.

Pioneer Plaza will have about 486 parking spaces.

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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