Moving Legislation, Defending the Map
We’ve reached the point in the legislative session when bills have begun to clear one chamber and move to the other chamber for consideration. This week, my Senate Bill 807 passed out of the Senate and is now in the hands of the House of Representatives. As introduced, this bill addressed inconsistencies between state and federal law in regards to licensed and regulated producers of medical marijuana products. Because cannabis is illegal under federal law, the tax code doesn’t allow these producers to deduct ordinary business expenses on their IRS tax returns. My legislation provides a way for these businesses – again, fully legal and licensed under Missouri law – to recoup some of their costs on their state tax return. Through the amendment process, SB 807 expanded to include a number of provisions relating to taxation, corporations and business development.
While the Senate worked to advance legislation this week, all eyes were on the House of Representatives to see what the lower chamber would do with the congressional redistricting map approved by the Senate. As I reported last week, the Senate substitute for House Bill 2117 overcame one of my greatest objections by placing both of Missouri’s major military installations in one congressional district. Unfortunately, the House refused to pass the Senate map, and requested a conference committee to resolve the differences instead. On Thursday, the Senate declined that request and again asked the House to approve its version of the bill. Once again, the House refused, putting the whole thing back in limbo. We’ll need to come to some agreement soon, or the courts could step in. I remain committed to producing a map that 1.) keeps both military installations in the same district, and 2.) sends the greatest number of conservative lawmakers to Congress. This has been a difficult debate, but the stakes are high and we need to get this right. It’s definitely worth fighting for a good map.
Since most of the debate on legislation occurred during late night sessions this week, I had a bit more time to meet with visitors from the district. I was especially thrilled to welcome members of the Missouri Wing of the Civil Air Patrol to the State Capitol. Formed in 1941 to supplement civilian defense organizations during World War II, the Civil Air Patrol is now designated as a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. Throughout its 80-year history, the patrol has served a variety of missions, including tracking enemy aircraft, participating in counter-drug reconnaissance and supporting recovery efforts following natural disasters. More recently, the CAP has provided nationwide support moving personnel and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also visiting this week were University of Central Missouri students involved in that school’s Student Government Association. They joined with students from Jefferson City’s Lincoln University to experience firsthand how the Missouri Legislature operates. I also had the pleasure of joining discussions with a delegation of business and community leaders from St. Louis, who came to the Capitol to discuss economic development legislation. As chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee and a member of the Interim Committee on Greater St. Louis Regional Emerging Issues, I have a strong interest in furthering opportunities in the region.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to share some good news. I was recently accepted as a member of the 2022 leadership class for the National Club for Growth Foundation. With a membership of more than 100,000 pro-growth, limited government Americans, the Club for Growth is one of the leading voices for the conservative movement in America. As a member of the foundation’s 2022 leadership class, I’ll be participating in a series of virtual meetings and two in-person seminars where I’ll learn ways to more effectively advance conservative principles in public policy. On a related note, I’m proud to say I was also recently recognized by the American Conservative Union Foundation for my voting record. The group, best known as the host of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, tracks the voting records of legislators and recognizes lawmakers who support limited government, individual rights, personal responsibility and lasting cultural values. My votes are guided by principle, not awards, but it is nice to be recognized.
As always, I 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 email@example.com.