This Week’s Guest Column from Sen. Will Kraus for the Week of Aug. 29: Celebrating the American Worker

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As I am writing this, Americans throughout the country are eagerly anticipating the upcoming three-day holiday weekend. The unofficial end of summer will be marked by picnics and backyard barbeques by the pool. Families will pack into cars and board planes to spend quality time with loved ones, and thousands of businesses will offer deep discounts in hopes that customers will walk through their doors. While this may be the Labor Day we have come to know, the official “workingmen’s holiday” was borne of the labor movement and dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

The American labor force has certainly come a long way in the nearly 125 years that have passed since the 53rd Congress approved legislation officially recognizing Labor Day as a legal holiday. During the last century, and especially within the past several decades, technology has drastically changed the landscape of business and industry — closing some doors while opening new ones that continue to inspire and challenge us. This Labor Day, I encourage you to pause and reflect on what your work has given you and what American ingenuity has given our nation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the ways Missouri lawmakers are working to not only keep pace with the demands of today’s business and industry sectors, but actually improve our business climate and protect our job creators and labor force for years to come.

During the 2016 session, we approved two tort reform bills to help foster a stronger, more resilient economy and better legal environment for current and future businesses. Senate Bill 591 aligns Missouri’s outdated standards for admitting testimony by expert witnesses in civil cases with the federal standard, while Senate Bill 847 aims to restore fairness to personal injury litigation by allowing awards in personal injury lawsuits to be based on the actual cost of medical services rendered instead of the estimated value.

In 2015, I successfully led the effort to pass Senate Bill 18, which requires the Department of Revenue to notify affected businesses or individuals whenever a change in tax regulation occurs. This year, I continued working to protect Missouri business owners and our hardworking taxpayers from bureaucratic overregulation by sponsoring Senate Bill 1025. This legislation seeks to restore instructional classes given at dance studios, gymnastics facilities and other fitness facilities to the same designation as educational classes — the classification they held before the DOR reinterpreted a sales tax law in 2008. Our government should be looking to boost job growth and support the small businesses who make it possible instead of imposing burdensome regulations and overreaching into taxpayers’ pockets. Senate Bill 1025 corrects this egregious revenue-grab while also promoting our economy and improving our communities.

To every hardworking Missourian, I want to thank you for your contributions to our state and local communities. Labor Day is about celebrating the spirit of determination and creativity that defines the American worker. Most especially, it is about celebrating you and all you have accomplished. I sincerely hope you and your family have a very safe, relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend.

You’re Invited to Attend

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will host nine regional meetings during September and October to receive feedback on what Missourians believe matters most in public education. Administrators, principals, teachers, parents, students, community members, business leaders and elected officials are encouraged to attend and participate.

Kansas City Region When: Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.

Where: Blue Springs High School South Blue Springs R-IV School District 1200 SE Adams Dairy Parkway Blue Springs, MO 64014

Anyone attending a meeting who requires auxiliary aids or accommodations should request such services by contacting the Communications Office at (573) 751-3469, or Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966, no later than 48 hours before the meeting.