Senator Caleb Rowden’s Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 13, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023


It has been a busy month in the Missouri Senate. We have already given several bills first round approval and even sent a few bills to the Missouri House of Representatives for consideration.

This week, my colleagues and I passed Senate Bills 4, 42 & 89 to create a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” and establish the Missouri Education Transparency and Accountability Portal. This portal would provide Missourians with access to every school’s curriculum, textbooks, source materials and syllabi. It would also list the names of presenters and any distributed materials from all administrator, teacher and staff professional development and instructional programs offered to schools regarding diversity, equity and inclusion or social and emotional learning, provided it does not violate any copyright or intellectual property laws. Parents deserve to know what their children are being taught, and I believe this legislation provides needed transparency in our public schools.

On Feb. 14, the Senate perfected a number of bills:

·       Senate Bill 94 creates the “Show MO Act” to reauthorize a tax credit for film productions and establishes the “Entertainment Industry Jobs Act” for tax credits related to rehearsal and tour expenses.

·       Senate Bill 75 modifies provisions relating to public school retirement systems, including retirement allowance multiplier, working after retirement and increases for members in domestic partnership with reduced monthly payments.

·       Senate Bill 13 modifies provisions relating to financial institutions.

·       Senate Bill 24 creates the “Missouri First Responder Mental Health Initiative Act” to provide confidentiality for information spoken or written during a peer support counseling session by a first responder or peer support advisor, with exceptions outlined in the bill.

·       Senate Bill 101 enacts provisions related to lender-placed insurance.

·       Senate Bill 103 modifies the expiration dates for provisions relating to court automation, including expanding the number of members on the Court Automation Committee and extending the expiration dates for provisions relating to court automation, as well as repealing provisions relating to a surcharge for petitions for expungement.

·       Senate Bill 70 adopts the Counseling Interstate Compact for professional counselors.

·       Senate Bill 23 requires licensed motor vehicle dealers to collect and remit to the Missouri Department of Revenue the sales tax on all motor vehicles the dealer sells.

·       Senate Bill 28 modifies provisions relating to fees for requests to access public records of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

·       Senate Bill 47 exempts homeless children, homeless youths and unaccompanied youths from certain fees collected by the Missouri Department of Revenue and adds these groups to the definition of “emancipated minor” for the purposes of proving the supervised driving experience required to obtain an intermediate driver's license, and exempts emancipated minors from intermediate driver's license fees.

·       Senate Bills 119 &120 add “telecommunicator first responder” to the definition of “first responder,” repeal a mandatory salary range for the Kansas City chief of police, establish post-traumatic stress disorder as an occupational disease for first responders and add firefighters as eligible first responder personnel to receive services from the Critical Incident Stress Management Program of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Last week, I appointed seven senators to serve on the Select Committee on the Protection of Missouri Assets from Foreign Adversaries. This committee will look into the current situation regarding the ownership of Missouri land by foreign countries or entities. It is imperative we thoroughly assess the impact of foreign land ownership and ensure we are keeping Missouri’s best interests in mind when we make decisions regarding our state’s natural resources.