Rep. Perkins Bill Regarding Foreign Ownership of Missouri Land has Passed the House (HCS 903)
Upon passage, Rep. Perkins noted, “It is long past time to restrict the ability of foreign adversaries to purchase land in Missouri. This is a national security and food security issue.” Perkins concluded, “I’m happy to see that the House is moving quickly to get this urgent legislation passed. My hope is that the senate also proceeds expeditiously so that we can get this to the governor’s desk quickly.”
This bill now moves to the Senate.
Rep. Perkins Bill Intended to Increase Public Safety in St. Louis has Been Perfected (HCS 702)
Rep. Perkins was happy to see this crucial piece of legislation moved forward in the House. “This is a first step towards addressing out of control crime in the City of St. Louis.” Perkins continued, “ This crime is detrimental to the whole region and the time to act is now. This, in addition to other legislation focusing on prosecuting crimes in the city, will hopefully begin to address this tragic situation.”
This bill needs one more vote in the House, then will proceed to the Senate.
Lawmakers Approve Legislation to Address Violent Crime in St. Louis (HBs 702, 53, 213, 216, 306 & 359)
In an effort to address the violent crime that has plagued St. Louis, members of the Missouri House gave first round approval to legislation that would put the city’s police force under the control of a state-appointed board of police commissioners. With a voice vote, the House gave initial approval to HBs 702, 53, 213, 216, 306 & 359.
For more than 150 years the St. Louis Police Department was under the control of the state. However, in 2012 voters approved a ballot measure that put the department under the control of the city beginning in 2013. Supporters say HBs 702, 53, 213, 216, 306 & 359 is necessary because the problem of violent crime has become worse under city control.
The lead sponsor of the bill noted, “A little over ten years ago the city took control of the police department and campaign promises were made on lowering crime, saving money, and economic growth in the region. We’ve seen the complete opposite. Murders have risen. Crime per capita has risen. The department has been defunded. Officer amount and recruitment has dipped below 1,000. Officers don’t have the equipment or training to perform their job.” He added, “We consistently rank at the top of the most dangerous cities in the country and in the world.”
The sponsor went on to say, “Lost in all these stats and arguments is the most important thing - people are dying at a rapid pace. It’s completely unacceptable. St. Louis is my home and the home to many. Something must be done. This is the start. This will take the politics out of policing and stabilize the department so they can perform the basic job of law enforcement.”
One supporter of the bill who previously worked for the St. Louis Police Department said, “It’s all political and the only way we’re going to be able to remove politics out of the police department is for the state to take back control of the city police department. I would love for the City of St. Louis to be able to maintain and make their police department better, but they’re just not doing that.”
HBs 575 & 910 specifies that any health carrier or health benefit plan that offers or issues health benefit plans that provide coverage for diagnostic breast examinations, coverage for supplemental breast examinations, low-dose mammography screenings, breast magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasounds or any combination of such coverages cannot impose any deductible, coinsurance, co-payment, or similar out-of-pocket expense with respect to such coverage. This bill further provides that a mammography facility certified by the US FDA shall not require a person to obtain a referral from a primary care provider or other physician in order to receive a screening mammogram at the facility, so long as the facility is consistent with the recommendations in the most current breast cancer screening guidelines established by the US Preventive Services Task Force.
“If we do not offer diagnostic testing without a copay, we will not receive the benefits of early cancer diagnosis. Diagnosing breast cancer early benefits us all. First and foremost it saves the lives of women that we care about and the mothers of our children. It reduces overall cost of healthcare,” said the sponsor of the bill, who noted a study found the national cost savings with early diagnosis would be $26 billion each year. She added, “It keeps women from becoming medically bankrupt and having to go on Medicaid and it keeps women in the workforce paying taxes and contributing to the economy.”
The bill sponsor also noted Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois and Colorado have already passed similar legislation. “It’s time for Missouri to be included on this list. In Missouri it’s estimated that 5,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Eight hundred and twenty of those women will die. I believe that 820 is way too many.”
House Approves Legislation to Provide Property Tax Relief for Vehicle Owners (HB 713)
Missourians struggling with higher property tax rates on their vehicles may have some relief in sight under a legislative proposal approved by the Missouri House of Representatives. House members approved HB 713 by a vote of 150-0 and sent the legislation to the Senate for consideration.
The bill sponsor said the legislation is “a fix to a real problem in our state.” He noted that in 2021 and 2022 “due to used car values going up, our constituents and citizens had higher tax assessments and therefore paid higher taxes.”
HB 713 would change current state law that requires assessors to determine vehicle values by using the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide. The bill would repeal that requirement and instead have assessors use the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for all vehicles for the original value of all motor vehicle assessment valuations. The bill establishes a 15-year depreciation schedule that would be applied to the MSRP to develop the annual and historical valuation guide for all motor vehicles.
The bill sponsor said the change is necessary “so that our taxpayers can be assured that once they have that car that it’s not going to go up in value and increase their taxes.”
In order to give assessors time to transition to the new process if the bill becomes law, the legislation would not take effect until January 1, 2024. However, an amendment added on the House floor would allow assessors to utilize other sources to determine the true value of motor vehicles for 2023 assessments.
In his closing remarks to his colleagues on the House floor, the bill sponsor said, “The bottom line is it’s a taxpayer protection act. If there’s nothing else we can do we can protect our taxpayers from unjustly having to pay more taxes on a vehicle that’s a year older; that has more mileage.”
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