Jan. 4, 2019
Looking Ahead to the 2019 Session
Happy New Year
I would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year. This time of year brings excitement and anticipation as we look ahead to the new year and its possibilities. I look forward to continue serving as your state senator and working to make Missouri a better place for all its citizens.
Legislation Pre-filed for the 2019 Session
Beginning on Dec. 1, members of the Missouri General Assembly were able to pre-file bills and proposals for the 2019 legislative session. Senator Romine pre-filed five pieces of legislation: Senate Bills 16, 17, 18, 201 and 202.
o Senate Bill 16 creates the Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant, which would provide a grant to Missouri citizens to attend an approved postsecondary institution of their choice. Applicants must be at least 25 years of age and earn an adjusted gross income of less than $80,000 per year. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education will designate eligible programs by Jan. 1, 2020, and will be responsible for implementing the program, determining the criteria for eligibility, reviewing each applicant and selecting the recipients.
o Senate Bill 17 reforms current law regarding individuals retired from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) and the amount of retirement allowance they will receive if they are employed by a public community college. Current law states that an individual retired from PSRS may return to work and continue receiving benefits through the retirement system as long as their job does not require teacher certification through the state. A person in this position may earn up to 60 percent of the minimum teacher salary without discontinuing their retirement allowance. If their salary exceeds 60 percent, they will not receive their retirement allowance for that month. Senate Bill 17 exempts retirees who are currently receiving a retirement allowance from PSRS from this limit as long as they are employed by a public community college.
o Senate Bill 18 modifies state law relating to gubernatorial appointments to boards and commissions. This legislation requires the governor to inform the Missouri Senate, in writing, of any appointment made to any state board or commission while the Senate is not in session. It also prohibits the governor from withdrawing or rescinding any appointment unless it is authorized by the Senate. In addition, the proposal revises state law regarding the State Board of Education. Under the proposal, new members must be sworn in by the president or vice president of the Board during one of the Board’s public meetings. Finally, the legislation repeals language in state law allowing the governor to make a temporary appointment to the Board if a vacancy arises while the General Assembly is not in session. This proposal is similar to Senate Bill 794 from 2018.
o Senate Bill 201 replaces the current motor vehicle registration fee system with a system that is based on fuel economy. It states that noncommercial motor vehicles rated as vehicles that achieve less than 29 miles per gallon (MPG) will pay a fee of $24, and vehicles rated between 29 and 61 MPG will pay an additional $6 for every mile per gallon in excess of 29 MPG. Vehicles rated at 61 MPG or more will pay a fee equivalent to that of a vehicle rated at 60 MPG. This act does not modify registration fees for motorcycles, motortricycles or autocycles. The director of the Department of Revenue will determine vehicles’ MPG rating. The rating will be based on the combined city and highway miles per gallon rating as determined by the fuel economy label provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.
o Senate Bill 202 states that funds sent to the Missouri Office of Administration from the Office of Natural Resources Revenue within the U.S. Department of the Interior for mining royalties that came from mining operations on federal land within the state must be distributed on a proportional basis to the counties where the mining operations took place. Each county that receives funds shall allocate 50 percent for public schools, 25 percent for the maintenance of bridges and roads and 25 percent for public safety, which includes the sheriff’s department, jail and care of prisoners, the office of the prosecuting attorney, juvenile officer and coroner.