Today was one of the best days in a long time for Jefferson City in the General Assembly. By a vote of 131 to 26, the Missouri House approved an amendment to a budget bill to invest $50 million for long-delayed upkeep of the Missouri State Capitol and $38 million for construction of a new state office building on the grounds of the old state penitentiary.
I was pleased to speak in favor and vote for the amendment, and look forward to progress in Jefferson City.
In debate late Wednesday night I offered an amendment to HB 698 which would spur re-development at the old Missouri State Penitentiary in downtown Jefferson City. My amendment would require the state of Missouri to sell at least 70 percent of the land and provide state tax credits to spur investment in the area.
As our state capitol, every Missourian has an interest in spurring economic development in downtown Jefferson City. Many thanks to Reps. Mike Bernskoetter, Jeannie Riddle, and Chris Kelly for the comments in favor of the amendment.
HCS for HB 700
The link above is to the House Committee Substitute for HB 700 to be considered tomorrow night.
The Washington Post reports the Obama administration has released a detailed state-by-state lists of the impact of sequestration. This list is intended to pressure Congress by scaring constituents and legislators in their home states. Congress, however, should ignore these scare tactics.
As John Boehner explained in an op-ed last week in the WSJ, the federal government is in this situation at the insistence of the president himself.
But President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester.
With the debt limit set to be hit in a matter of hours, Republicans and Democrats in Congress reluctantly accepted the president’s demand for the sequester, and a revised version of the Budget Control Act was passed on a bipartisan basis.
Now President Obama wants to blame Congress for across-the-board cuts which are irresponsible because they don’t differentiate between good, decent, and terrible areas of public spending. House Republicans have passed two plans to replace the sequester with intelligent spending cuts. Democrats have done little but insist on new tax hikes.
Don’t be fooled by the scare tactics. The world will not end if the sequester happens. And its time for President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress to get serious about cutting spending.
Jason Hancock of the KC Star reports that House Democrat Minority Leader Jake Hummel has filed legislation to expand our currently broken Medicaid system.
My takeaway quote:
“We are not going to expand Medicaid as envisioned by Obamacare,” Barnes said. “The bill I’m filing next week will make Missouri’s Medicaid system the most market-based system in the nation. So stay tuned.”
I filed HB 535 this week to protect children from predators by making incest an aggravating factor subjecting perpetrators to increased punishment for these heinous crimes. For example, under current law, a predator convicted of first-degree statutory rape can be sentenced to a punishment that runs concurrently with another conviction. HB 535 places first-degree statutory rape on the same plane as rape, forcible rape, sodomy, and forcible sodomy – all crimes for which sentences must run consecutively. In addition, the bill makes incest committed against a child an aggravating factor subjecting the perpetrator to increased punishment for the crimes of statutory rape, forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy, child molestation, sexual misconduct, and sexual trafficking of a child.
Good news for state employees. The House Committee on Appropriations for General Administration reviewed the budget yesterday for state employee fringe benefits – and it projects no increases for state employee health care premiums or co-pays.
There’s also money in the budget for another cost-of-living increase / raise. It’s not enough necessarily to get us out of the basement, but it’s a another step in the right direction which I support.