The first half of the 2021 legislative session has flown by. This week, I attended a meeting of the South Central County Commissioners Association, where I met with officials from 17 different counties in our region. I also had the pleasure of meeting with Salem R-80 superintendent Lynne Reed to discuss education legislative priorities, as well as the Wayfair internet sales tax, the Department of Conservation, and other issues important to our region.
As our 2021 legislative session reaches its midpoint, my House colleagues and I have approved and sent to the Senate more than 45 pieces of legislation, including many priority issues. The House also used the first half of the legislative session to tackle important issues such as protecting the Second Amendment rights of Missouri citizens, preventing the abuse of burdensome mandates issued by unelected bureaucrats, and supporting the state’s agriculture industry. The House and Senate also gave final approval to a supplemental budget bill that was signed into law by the governor.
In January, the House voted to provide financial support to foster and adoptive parents (HB 429 and HB 430). These bills would offer financial assistance to families that provide a stable home to children in need. HB 429 would authorize an income tax deduction for Missouri taxpayers for the expenses related to providing care as a foster parent. HB 430 would expand the state’s existing $10,000 tax credit to any adoption. Currently the credit applies only to Missouri taxpayers who adopt special needs children.
We also took action to protect Missourians’ Second Amendment Rights. The Second Amendment Preservation Act (HBs 85 & 310) would protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians against an overreaching federal government. The Second Amendment Preservation Act is meant to protect law-abiding gun owners from potential gun control legislation that could be passed in Washington, D.C. It states that laws and other actions that prohibit the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition within Missouri exceed the powers granted to the federal government. It also declares that all federal laws, acts, and orders that infringe on Missourians’ second amendment rights are invalid in the state.
Finally, we passed HB 334 to protect the integrity of our elections. HB 334 would reinstate a voter ID requirement that was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court last year. The bill will ensure Missourians present a photo ID when they go to vote, but will also allow people without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to be counted, election officials would have to verify the voter’s signature based on voter records, or the voter would need to return later that day with a valid photo ID.