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Capitol Report

BRIAN H. SEITZ is the State Representative for the 156th District in Missouri

Supporting small businesses affected by shutdown orders

The Missouri House of Representatives has passed my bill, HB 2874, the “Protecting Missouri’s Small Businesses Act,” aimed at providing critical support to small businesses across the state facing economic losses due to shutdown orders imposed during emergencies.

Small businesses in our state have faced immense challenges due to these shutdown measures, enduring substantial financial strain as a result. With HB 2874, we acknowledge their sacrifices and strive to offer meaningful assistance to facilitate their recovery efforts. Recognizing the vital role small businesses play in Missouri’s economy, this bill underscores our dedication to standing by them during times of adversity and ensuring they have the necessary support to thrive.

HB2874 includes several important provisions aimed at alleviating the burdens faced by small businesses. It mandates that local authorities consider the economic impact of shutdown orders, waives business license fees for the duration of closures or up to six months, provides property tax relief corresponding to the length of shutdowns, and other common sense measures.

This legislative victory represents a significant milestone in our collective efforts to support Missouri’s small business community and foster broader economic recovery across our state.

Safeguarding the voting process

The Missouri House of Representatives this week gave initial approval to our solution aimed at strengthening the state’s electoral process and ensuring the integrity of our elections. HJR 104 would amend the Constitution to enshrine key voting procedures and requirements, passed with a majority vote, underscoring the legislature’s dedication to ensuring fair and transparent elections for all Missourians. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Only citizens of the United States would be entitled to vote in public elections.

  • All elections must be conducted using paper ballots or any mechanical method prescribed by law. This aims to ensure transparency and prevent tampering.

  • Each voter is entitled to only one vote for each issue or open seat being voted on in an election. This prevents multiple votes by a single individual.

  • The candidate who receives the highest number of votes in a primary election for a party becomes the sole candidate for that party in the general election, unless removed or replaced by law. The candidate who receives the highest number of votes in the general election is declared the winner.

  • Voting machines must be tested and certified as secure according to federal standards before each election in which they will be used. This is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the voting process.

This legislation aims to protect our representative republic by embedding vital voting procedures in our state Constitution, affirming the importance of election integrity. It enhances public trust, prevents alternative voting systems like ranked choice voting, and underscores Missouri’s dedication to fair elections. With just one more vote required, its passage by the Missouri House will mark a significant move towards ensuring transparent and secure elections for all citizens.

Legislation to prevent Medicaid funding going to abortion providers returns to the House

This week, the Missouri Senate returned a House bill, HB 2634, which seeks to make it illegal for public funds, including Medicaid reimbursements, to support abortion facilities or their affiliates. It grants taxpayers and the Attorney General the right to take legal action to enforce these provisions. House Bill 2634 would seek to simply codify that in statute and say that we are not going to allow abortion providers or their affiliates to be reimbursed through our state’s Medicaid program.

The bill also amends an existing statute, requiring MO HealthNet participants to obtain services only from qualified providers and empowering the Department of Social Services to revoke contracts with providers found unqualified due to specific offenses, such as intentional discrimination or support for eugenics. Additionally, the bill prohibits reimbursement to abortion facilities under the “Uninsured Women’s Health Program.”

The legislation, which was sent to the Missouri Senate in March, was passed out of that chamber this week after more than 11 hours of filibustering with changes, requiring the House to approve those changes in order to truly agree and pass the legislation, sending it to the Governor’s desk.

Second Amendment language offered to Senate Bill 727

I recently drafted a House amendment, ending in .69H, to Senate Bill 727, in hopes of nullifying fear held by numerous grassroots groups that their Second Amendment rights could possibly be in jeopardy. The amendment states, ‘For purposes of state law the right to bear arms shall not be denied for any participant in or provider of a home school as such term is defined in section 160.012.’

Missouri Legislature passes historic education reform bills

Staying true to my priorities involving education, I helped pass two bills that are wins for both public schools and school choice. In these bills we allowed for parental choice and increased teacher pay. I had prepared amendments for one of the bills, but my concerns were alleviated in the passage of the second bill, especially the Second Amendment rights of those who home school.

In a significant victory for education in the Show-Me State, the Missouri General Assembly has passed SB 727 and HB 2287, two comprehensive education reform bills aimed at enhancing elementary and secondary education across the state. The legislative packages represent a significant step forward in bolstering educational opportunities for Missouri’s students.

SB727 aims to improve Missouri’s education system through various measures. It includes changes to the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program, updates to minimum school term requirements, and initiatives to promote literacy among elementary students via the Elementary Literacy Fund. Alongside these educational enhancements, SB 727 also tackles issues like teacher certification, school board vacancies, and suicide prevention, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to reforming education.

Initially focused on refining Missouri’s Course Access and Virtual School Program, HB2287 addresses several aspects, such as calculating average daily attendance for full-time virtual students, providing state aid to host districts, allowing statewide open enrollment, establishing enrollment policies, accommodating students with disabilities through individualized education programs, and simplifying the enrollment process for parents or guardians. Furthermore, the bill permits host districts to contract with providers for necessary virtual education services. Recently, the legislation expanded to include provisions such as an increase in Missouri’s private school tax credit program, permitting charter schools in Boone County, and other measures aimed at strengthening public schools.

In these two bills, we have crafted a comprehensive package that caters to the diverse needs of our educational institutions. We are transitioning from a strict attendance-based model to one that allocates 50 percent of funding based on area and 50 percent on enrollment. This includes doubling small school grants and significantly boosting funding for early childhood education. We are also focusing on teacher welfare, implementing wage increases, career ladder programs, and flexibilities to attract and retain top educators nationwide.

Recognizing parental frustrations, we are incentivizing schools to shift to a five-day week and enhancing options for homeschooling families. We are expanding the Missouri empowerment scholarship program and prioritizing scholarships for low-income students and those with learning disabilities. Additionally, we are removing geographic restrictions to ensure equitable access.

Acknowledging the efficacy of charter schools in Kansas City and St. Louis, we are providing more choices for families dissatisfied with traditional district options. It has been a journey of perseverance. Despite past gridlock, it is clear that collective action is essential for meaningful change in public education.

This is the most substantive investment in education that this state has ever seen. By expanding opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and addressing critical needs such as literacy and teacher recruitment, we are laying the foundation for a brighter future for our state. By prioritizing initiatives that support student success and teacher excellence, we are investing in the prosperity of our communities and the well-being of our children. Though our educational philosophies may differ, our shared commitment to the welfare of children unites us. Together, we are shaping a brighter future for Missouri’s students and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive.

With passage in both chambers of the Missouri Legislature, SB 727 and HB 2287 are poised to make a lasting impact on the educational landscape of the state. The bills now head to the governor’s desk, where they await his signature into law.

Need to contact my office?

Please call my office at 573-751-1309 if we can ever be of assistance to you or stop by our office in Jefferson City in room 118. Myself or my Legislator Assistant are happy to help.

Brian H. Seitz

State Representative of the 156th District

201 W. Capitol Ave., Room 118, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Telephone: 573-751-130

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