Sen. Andrew Koenig’s Capitol Report for April 27, 2021

Governor Signs House Bill 429 and House Bill 430 Into Law

On Thursday, April 22, the governor signed House Bill 429 and House Bill 430 into law on the north steps of the State Capitol. This session, I filed a series of bills, Senate Bill 155, Senate Bill 327 and Senate Bill 461, that include several of the provisions in HBs 429 and 430. I was also the Senate handler of HB 429. I am incredibly thrilled to see the governor sign these bills into law.

Senator Koenig speaks at the bill signing event of House Bills 429 and 430. From L to R: Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, Rep. Hannah Kelly, First Lady Teresa Parson, Gov. Parson, Speaker of the House Rob Vescovo, Sen. Koenig, Sen. Holly Rehder and Rep. Brenda Shields.

“Every child deserves a family to provide love, support and a strong foundation. Missourians who take on this role as foster and adoptive parents are invaluable to the children of our state, and I am extremely pleased to sign these bills today. I want to thank Rep. Kelly, Speaker Vescovo, Sen. Koenig and Sen. Rehder for their work to support Missouri’s adoptive and foster families, improve the adoption process and most importantly help foster children reach the permanency they deserve.” – Governor Mike Parson.

House Bill 429 establishes a clearer path to permanency for foster children by clarifying what constitutes an abandoned child, creates a definite timeline for courts in certain circumstances and removes barriers for adoptive families in consent adoption cases. Specifically, the legislation allows the Children’s Division or juvenile officer to seek termination of parental rights when a child less than two years old has been abandoned for 60 days or a child over two years old has been abandoned for six months.

As a foster care and adoptive parent myself, I understand that foster care placements can happen quickly and prospective foster care parents may need to buy cribs and other supplies with little notice to accommodate the child. These parents should have the opportunity to receive a tax deduction for these expenses.

HB 429 and HB 430 both make several statutory changes to make the adoption process more accessible, including the expansion of an existing adoption tax credit to include the adoption of any child.

HB 430 also extends tax credits for those who donate to domestic violence shelters and maternity homes.

I believe these bills will make adoption and foster care more affordable and accessible for Missouri families. At the end of the day, we need loving families to adopt and take care of children in foster care, regardless of their ability to pay extravagant foster care and adoption fees. I want to thank Gov. Parson, Speaker Rob Vescovo, Rep. Hannah Kelly and Sen. Holly Rehder for their dedication to protecting our state’s children.

Thank you for reading my Capitol Report, and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you soon.