Representative Yolanda Young's Newsletter

January 29, 2021

Contact me at: 
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: (573) 751-3129

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Dear Neighbors,

This week I was back in Jefferson City for a full week of session and committee hearings. I have been assigned to serve on the Children and Families Committee, the Workforce Development Committee, and the Special Committee on Criminal Justice, all of which have scheduled hearings already. 

In Children and Families, we heard two bills, HB 429 which allows a taxpayer a deduction for expenses incurred while providing care for a foster child.  HB 430 will allow parents an adoption tax credit while prioritizing children with special needs. I was pleased to support both bills in committee because I believe they would ease some of the financial burden on willing foster parents, thus, encouraging more people to care for children in our foster system. Fortunately, these two bills moved quickly to the House floor and were passed by an unanimous vote in our chamber on Thursday. This was a bipartisan effort that will  help the most vulnerable in our state -- our children. The bills will move to the Senate for consideration and, if passed, will go to the Governor for his approval. 

The House also approved another supplemental budget sent to us by the Governor to provide $324 million in additional Coronavirus relief funding for Missourians in need of housing and rental assistance. I was happy to be able to vote in favor of this measure, and I will let you know as soon as applications for assistance become available. 
If there’s anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 573-751-3129.
Yours in Service,
Yolanda Young
Governor Parson Delivers his
State of the State Address
During his annual State of the State address on January 27, Governor Parson outlined his plans for our state in the upcoming year. The State of the State address traditionally is delivered in the House of Representatives chamber before a joint session of the legislature. However, the joint session was cancelled and the speech moved to the much smaller Senate chamber, just hours before it was to begin due to a disagreement between the governor and House majority leadership. The cause of the disagreement wasn’t immediately clear, but it marked the first time in recent memory, and perhaps in state history, that the State of the State wasn’t held in the House chamber.

In his address, Governor Parson proposed a $34.13 billion state operating budget for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year. The FY 2022 budget proposal expands Medicaid eligibility as required by a constitutional amendment Missouri voters ratified last year – without requiring a tax increase or deep cuts to other programs as Parson and other opponents had long claimed would be necessary during their years-long opposition to expansion.
As Parson himself noted, Medicaid expansion will extend health care access to approximately 275,000 Missourians who don’t currently have it. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost. Expansion supporters have long contended the state’s share easily would be covered by savings elsewhere in the budget resulting from more people having health care coverage, as well as the economic benefit from the large amount of additional federal money flowing into Missouri.
Parson’s budget also calls for increased infrastructure spending, including $100 million to begin working through a backlog of delayed maintenance and repairs at state facilities. The governor’s budget plan continues to rely heavily on federal COVID-19 relief funds to free up state general revenue for other spending priorities.
The governor pledged to “fully fund” basic state funding for local public schools. However, under changes the General Assembly enacted a few years ago, that drastically cut the amount of new revenue required each year to claim full funding under the law- that’s a relatively small increase of $8.5 million to the $3.56 billion education funding formula.
Parson’s budget also calls for restoring cuts to public colleges and universities that were imposed last year after state revenue collections cratered due to economic shutdowns caused by the pandemic. However, state higher education funding still would remain well below historic highs.

Although the state constitution requires the governor to submit a proposed state budget to the legislature each year, lawmakers owe no deference to it and can accept, reject or modify the governor’s recommendations as they see fit. Lawmakers must grant final passage to the various appropriations bills that make up the budget by a constitutional deadline of May 7. The 2022 fiscal year begins July 1.
Among his policy priorities, Parson called for legislation to prohibit lawsuits against businesses and other organizations over issues related to COVID-19, despite the apparent lack of any such lawsuits in Missouri nearly one year into the pandemic. The governor also advocated for changing statute to allow the state and local governments to more easily capture sales tax revenue from online purchases that is already due under state law but rarely collected.
In addition, Parson announced the creation of new Office of Childhood that will be created by consolidated various existing programs relating to early childhood care and education at the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Health and Senior Services, and Social Services. DESE will oversee the new agency.

While I wasn't able to attend the State of the State this year due to COVID-19 concerns, I was pleased to hear the governor's commitment to restoring much of the funding to programs and agencies that were effected by the pandemic last year. It will take decisive action to see us through to the end of the pandemic and I am hopeful that Governor Parson and his team will be successful. I look forward to working together throughout this legislative session to help Missourians recover from the pandemic and get our state back on track. 
Raises for Elected Officials To Take Effect July 1
Missouri lawmakers and statewide elected officials will get their first pay raises since 2008 later this year after the General Assembly failed to pass a resolution rejecting increases recommended in December by the State Salary Commission. The 2.5 percent raises will take effect on July 1.
Under the Missouri Constitution, the Salary Commission is charged with setting pay rates for state elected officials every two year. However, lawmakers can – and usually do – reject the raises with two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers.
Although the House of Representatives voted 97-11-41 in favor of a rejection resolution on January 28, the measure failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority of 109 votes. By the time of the vote, however, the resolution already was rendered moot since the Senate had adjourned for the week and wasn’t to reconvene until February 1 – one day after the constitutional deadline for rejecting the commission’s recommendations.
At present, senators and state representatives earn $35,915 a year. After the 2.5 percent bump, they will make $36,813 annually. The governor’s salary will go from the current $133,821 to $137,166, a year. The remaining five statewide elected officials also will get raises. Under the Salary Commission’s recommendations, lawmakers and statewide officeholders will get a second 2.5 percent increase on July 1, 2022.
Photo Voter Id Requirement Considered Once Again
The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee on January 27 heard legislation seeking to require Missourians to show a government-issued photo identification card at their polling place in order to vote. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Missourians don’t have a driver’s license or non-driver state ID and could be disenfranchised under the measure, House Bill 334.
Some Missouri lawmakers have been seeking to impose a photo voter ID requirement for more than 15 years. During that time they’ve successfully enacted such requirements twice, but the Missouri Supreme Court struck down both laws for infringing on the constitutional right to vote. The court invalidated the first law in 2008 and the second in 2020.
During the long photo voter ID debate, supports of the measure have contended it is necessary to combat fraud, despite a lack of documented cases in Missouri of voter impersonation at the polls – the only type of fraud a photo ID requirement could prevent. Opponents note that the populations most likely not to have a photo ID include racial minorities and other groups that, not coincidentally, tend to support Democratic candidates.
Senate Committee Hears Bill Targeting Protesters
If passed, Senate Bill 66 would make it legal for someone to drive their car through a peaceful protest like this.
A Senate committee on January 26 considered legislation that would grant immunity from prosecution to people who kill or assault protesters who enter private property or public roadways. The bill also would grant civil immunity to motorists who injure protesters with their vehicles and make it a felony to impede traffic as part of a protest.
Senate Bill 66, sponsored by Senator Rick Brattin (R-31), also includes provisions making it more difficult for local governments to reduce law enforcement budgets and makes it a crime to cause “emotional distress to another person” during a protest. The Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee did not take immediate action on the bill. According to a January 27 story by The Associated Press, SB 66 is supported by the union representing Kansas City police officers.
Emergency Rent Assistance Now Available
The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), in coordination with the Missouri Department of Social Services, has set up a program tapping CARES Act COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) funds for emergency rental arrears assistance.

This ESG-CV assistance program is currently accepting applications from landlords and renters who are struggling due to the COVID-19 emergency. It will reimburse landlords for past due rent payments (rental arrears) for the period beginning April 1, 2020. Applications must be completed and submitted by landlords in collaboration with their tenant. A one-time payment of up to six months of rental arrears will be made to the landlord on the tenant’s behalf. Requests are subject to rent maximums.
To participate in the program, landlords and tenants should review the necessary pre-application materials here. Generally speaking, landlords must sign a guarantee of non-eviction of the tenant listed in the application for non-payment of rent for 120 days from the date of the rental arrears application submission. By accepting rental assistance, landlords must waive any and all outstanding rent, late fees, and other penalties incurred by the tenant for non-payment, or late payment of rent, that were incurred on or before the date the application was submitted.
Landlords will complete an online application and will be notified of application status by email. Applications can be submitted here.

Anyone (landlord or tenant) interested in getting emergency rental arrears assistance can visit the program homepage to access additional information and requirements, application materials, and to submit their application. If you need additional assistance, call my office at 573-751-3129. 
State government can be hard to navigate. If you need assistance with a state department or with unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps, or other state benefits call my office at (573) 751-3129. My staff and I are here to help in any way we can. 
District 22 Staff

Kaylee Bauer
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Phone: (573) 751-3129 
Copyright © 2021 State Representative Yolanda Young, All rights reserved.

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