Let’s Focus on Reform

Hoskins - Column Banner - 042617

After the opening of the 2018 legislative session on Jan. 3, I recognize there are several hot button issues on my colleagues’ agenda within the Missouri Senate, but for my constituents, I think it boils down to three things: labor reform, tort reform and welfare reform.

In lieu of all the legislation coming through the pipes, I encourage my constituents to keep watch for three specific bills I have pre-filed that really get to the core of these issues.

Senate Bill 608, known as the Business Premises Safety Act. This legislation would protect businesses against frivolous lawsuits stemming from third-party criminal activity that occurs on their property without their knowledge.

Only in the case where repetitive offenses occur in a designated amount of time would the business be more apt to be held accountable for those criminal acts. The burden of violent crimes should be on criminals, not law-abiding business owners.

When it comes to labor reform, one issue our neighbors are confronted with is the negative effects of our state’s existing prevailing wage laws. I’ve come to notice whether there is a project for the city or one of the schools in my eight-county district, each project is forced to pay the same wage as a similar project in Jackson County. In turn, this increases the cost of construction for a lot of our rural school districts, towns and cities. Your call for reform in this area helped lead the way for the creation of Senate Bill 609, which eliminates Missouri’s prevailing wage laws.

Hopefully, repealing the prevailing wage will be a priority for lawmakers this year, but I am open to continued discussions on how to approach this issue.

For my constituents, welfare reform is not about eliminating government assistance, but it is about accountability to taxpayers. Parents who pay child support should be held accountable for making their payments on time.

Through Senate Bill 610, parents who are delinquent on their child support payments forfeit their benefits through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, with the exception of prior approval by a judge or the Department of Social Services.

I think is very important that able-bodied adults who are not meeting their child support commitments be held accountable for their actions against their children. As a result, taxpayers should not be funding SNAP benefits for the able-bodied adult.

Outside of these bills, I am passionate about funding for education and the well-being of veterans in our communities. Even in a tough budget year, I hope we can fully fund the education formula again this year and at least maintain our current funding levels for higher education institutions across the state.

With Whiteman Airforce Base and the Warrensburg Veterans Home in our back yard, it is important for all of us to recognize their value and contributions to the community and our country. As the newly appointed Chairman of the Missouri Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, I am dedicated to ensuring the needs of veteran’s across the state are taken care of.

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at denny.hoskins@senate.mo.gov.