Wrapping up the 2018 Legislative Session
“I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy. The reason why democracy works is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does … democracy works because most people, most of the time, voluntarily choose to obey the law. And in your past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week. And they were taught there by people who they respected. Americans followed these rules because they had come to believe that they weren’t just accountable to society, they were accountable to God.” Chinese Marxist economist response at end of Fulbright Fellowship to Prof. Clay Christensen when asked what he had learned that was surprising or unexpected.
Many are saying that this was an historic year in Missouri, even in the midst of significant political distractions in the executive branch. Despite those distractions, the legislature had a very productive and effective year. The Show-Me Institute, Missouri’s qualified and highly respected think-tank, called it an “outstanding session for Missouri.” In addition to the accomplishments, some of which will be listed below, 2018 profoundly illustrated the value of our system of separate, co-sovereign branches of government. You will sometimes hear the branches described as co-equal, but that is inaccurate (a pet peeve of mine). Any reading of history reveals they are co-sovereign rather than co-equal.
Prosperity is critical to strengthening Missouri families and our communities. Most agree that a good job is the most reliable path to prosperity. This year’s corporate income tax reform will encourage small and large companies to invest, compete and grow – translating into jobs. Senate Bill 884 reduces the corporate tax rate significantly, and the marketplace will soon convert that into increased prosperity for working Missourians.
Growing job opportunities will demand qualified employees, and House Bill 1415 as well as Senate Bills 894 & 921 will provide job training and facilitate more STEM learning opportunities for high school students. Another education advancement is Senate Bill 603, which provides Missouri students with free access to approved, virtual courses, including those students who choose to be full-time virtual students.
House Bill 1413 gives public-sector workers more power in the workplace over when union fees may be deducted from their salaries. It also includes reforms advancing transparency and accountability within public-sector unions. Additional reforms are needed, but this bill is an important step in the right direction. Prevailing wage reforms, House Bill 1729, will reduce the cost to tax payers for certain public works projects.
Opioid addiction has become an epidemic. Senate Bill 826 addresses the crisis with modifications to pharmacy regulations relating to drug disposal, prescription limitation for controlled substances and vaccine protocols. An additional health advancement is House Bill 1516, which allows licensed chiropractic physicians to treat and be reimbursed for conditions currently reimbursed under MO HealthNet.
A major victory for protecting innocent life included language inserted into the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. This budget defunds abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
All the legislation passed this session can be viewed on the Missouri Senate’s website at www.senate.mo.gov. The former governor signed 77 bills before he left office, and our current governor has many to review for his consideration. I am sure he would appreciate your prayers as he undertakes such a huge task.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.