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Standing in Defense of Missourians’ Second Amendment Rights

This week in the state Capitol was marked by a lot of discussion, and a lot of calls and emails, in regard to controversial gun control legislation filed in the Missouri House. The bill in question (HB 545) was filed by House Democrats and is meant to make it a felony to possess an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine. The bill would give Missourians 90 days to turn over their guns or face felony charges.

The most important thing to understand about this bill is that it has no chance of becoming law. The Missouri House has an overwhelming majority of members from both parties who believe in defending the Second Amendment rights of their constituents. The bill was really meant to generate media attention, which it has done, but it in no way is an idea supported by anything more than a very small minority of House members. Rest assured that your state legislature will do all it can to protect your right to keep and bear arms, and we will stand against legislation like HB 545, or any other, that would infringe upon your Constitutional rights.

House Committee Approves Bill to Promote Career and Technical Education (HB 56)

The House Committee on Agriculture Policy met Tuesday to approve legislation that would develop a comprehensive long-range strategic plan for career and technical education in Missouri. Known as the Career and Technical Education Student Protection Act, the bill would create a special advisory council to oversee Missouri’s career and technical education (CTE) programs like FFA, FBLA, DECA and others.

It’s important to note the council would be made up of educators, administrators and member of the business community who have a vested interest in the success of CTE programs. They would work together to develop both a short-range and long-range statewide plan for career and technical education; as well as identify legislative recommendations to improve career and technical education, and promote coordination of existing career and technical education programs.

Our CTE programs have an enormous positive impact on so many young people in our state. In fact, more than 63 percent of the state’s high school students participated in at least one CTE program for the 2011-2012 school year. These are students benefitting from an opportunity to learn and explore possible career paths in fields such as agriculture, business and health sciences. With the help of the CTE programs, these students receive the kind of hands-on, practical training that will ready them for work on the family farm or in the business world.

I am hopeful we will pass this bill into law this year because I believe it is imperative that we put our career and technical education programs in a position to not only survive, but thrive in the years to come.

House Approves Tax Amnesty Period (HB 55)

Missourians who have a delinquent tax bill could have the opportunity to pay off their debt without additional interest or penalties. Legislation we approved this week would create a tax amnesty period between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31. During the period, residents could pay off their outstanding tax debt while foregoing any interest or penalties that have accrued. The one stipulation with the amnesty period is that those who take advantage of it would have to comply with state tax rules for the next eight years. If they fail to do so, they would be charged the full interest and penalties that were waived.

This is a proposal the House has talked about and approved several times in recent years but it has not made it across the legislative finish line. The last time the state did something similar was a decade ago when an amnesty period generated an additional $74 million in tax revenue one year and another $42 million the next year. With the amnesty period we are considering this year, we anticipate a much-needed boost of $75 million to our state budget. Considering the governor balanced his budget in part on this proposal, it makes it important that we continue to move this bill through the process and into law. I will keep you updated on this proposal as it progresses.

As always, it is an honor to serve the good folks of the 153rd District. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-1066 or you can e-mail me at .

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