Senator Ron Richard’s Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 8

Richard Column

Senate Responds to U.S. Supreme Court’s EPA Decision; Passes Resolution to Keep NGA Jobs in Missouri

Legislative News

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) aggressive, job-destroying plan to limit carbon emissions. In response, members of the Senate are now asking the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to suspend any Clean Power Plan preparations or plans of implementation.

As legislators, we are the ones who should determine the right balance for Missourians, not the EPA. The DNR should now suspend any preparations of a state plan implementing the Clean Air Plan until the U.S. Supreme Court decides on the rule. We should not put added restrictions or burdens on Missouri businesses and consumers that could be considered unconstitutional.

The EPA’s new rule contained guidelines for states to follow, including cutting carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The agency’s strict timelines and milestones in the Clean Power Plan would cost billions to implement, with estimates hitting close to $6 billion through 2030. Those costs would be passed onto consumers and businesses, take money out of the economy and stall spending, innovation, investment and job growth. Missouri is already a clean coal state, and the General Assembly has been taking steps to develop a Missouri-focused plan.

In other legislative news, the Senate voted to advance two measures to the House, both of which are designed to give Missourians the best chance of survival when faced with certain medical emergencies. Senate Bill 677 establishes requirements for authorized entities, such as restaurants and sports arenas, to stock epinephrine (EPI) auto-injectors in order to treat individuals experiencing a life-threatening allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis. Public schools and public charter schools are not considered authorized entities.

We also approved Senate Bill 711, legislation requiring high school students in public schools and public charter schools to receive 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction and training in the proper performance of the Heimlich maneuver, or other first aid for choking, prior to graduation. The act also calls for the training to be included in the district’s existing health or physical education curriculum. If signed into law, the new requirements will be in effect for the 2017-2018 school year.

Finally, this week my colleagues and I adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 58, which encourages the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to build its new facility in north St. Louis City. The NGA is critical to our national defense, providing crucial geospatial, or map-based, intelligence to the military, policymakers, first responders and intelligence professionals. Although the NGA has been located in St. Louis for 72 years, it is currently considering several new locations, including Illinois, on which to build its new high-tech headquarters. The agency pays an average salary of $83,000 and employs more than 3,000 men and women, with two-thirds of those employees living in Missouri.

State lawmakers have been working to keep the NGA in St. Louis since we first learned of their desire to move. Last session, I offered an amendment to House Bill 514, which provided for tax increment financing (TIF) for blighted areas for the proposed site. The legislation was ultimately passed and signed by the governor.

Along with offering north St. Louis City the opportunity to significantly expand its role in the technology sector, keeping the NGA in St. Louis will bring a huge economic development advantage to the entire Show-Me State. We simply cannot afford to lose the high-paying, high-caliber jobs and economic benefits the NGA provides. Senate Concurrent Resolution 58 is part of our continued efforts to demonstrate to the NGA that we are serious about keeping their business and jobs here in Missouri.

Helpful Consumer Financial Information

Living within your means is the foundation of financial health — but it’s much easier said than done. Planning and sticking to a budget is a challenge, and many people too often find themselves in the red at the end of the month. This week, the Heartland Credit Union Association (HCUA) offers three strategies to help you save more, spend less and make room in your budget for what’s really important.

Always Be on the Lookout for Savings.

Don’t let saving opportunities pass you by. While you can still clip coupons, there are also online options. You may also want to download rebate apps or companies that offer discounts to your favorite local restaurants and hot spots.

Stack Discounts to Lower Your Grocery Bill.

For many families, groceries add up as one of the largest expenses. Rather than just settling on a coupon to save, combine the coupon with other savings strategies to cut your budget down.  Buy a discounted gift card, which typically sells for 1-25 percent below face value. Stack those savings on top of regular coupons to reduce your bill by more than half.

Try Envelope Budgeting

On your payday, withdraw the dollar amount you need until the next pay period and split it up among different envelopes. When one envelope empties, either take money from another envelope or do without until the next payday. Moving to a cash-only budget can help you cut spending and get in the habit of more carefully considering purchases.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may write to me at Senator Ron Richard, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol Ave., Rm. 326, Jefferson City, MO 65101; e-mail me at or visit me on the Web at

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