It has been another busy week here in the Capitol. The House passed HB 429 and HB 430 this week. It was enlightening and uplifting to be a part of the conversation on Foster Care and Adoptive parents. I believe the House has made a step in the right direction concerning these issues and I was glad to vote in favor of the Bills. Governor Parsons also delivered his State of the State Speech this week. I have included some of the high lights below. As always, if you ever have any concerns or issues, don’t hesitate to let us know. We receive lots of input from different concerns here in Jefferson City but I always enjoy hearing from the folks back home and value your input most.
Families that provide a stable home to children in need would receive additional financial assistance under the first two pieces of legislation approved by the Missouri House of Representatives for the 2021 legislative session. The bills are a top priority for House Speaker Rob Vescovo, who was adopted as a child after spending time in Missouri’s foster care system.
By a vote of 149-0, the House approved HB 429, which would authorize an income tax deduction for Missouri taxpayers for the expenses related to providing care as a foster parent. The bill would authorize a deduction of $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a married couple if foster care is provided for at least six months.
HB 430 was approved by the House by a vote of 155-0. It would expand the state’s existing $10,000 tax credit to any adoption. Currently the credit applies only to Missouri taxpayers who adopt special needs children. The legislation would continue to give priority to special needs adoptions.
An amendment added on the House floor would allow the adoption tax credit to be claimed by Missouri taxpayers who adopt an individual who is 18 years of age or older but is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.
With the approval of the House of Representatives, the two bills now move to the Missouri Senate for consideration.
Governor Parson Delivers 2021 State of the State Address
During the speech, Parson highlighted several accomplishments the state has made in combating COVID-19, as well as major successes in infrastructure and workforce development.
Parson’s speech also focused on priorities for 2021: education and workforce development, infrastructure, stronger communities, health care, and government reform. Additionally, the governor expressed his hope that the legislature will make COVID-19 liability protection and Wayfair top priorities this session.
Parson said he hopes a COVID-19 liability protection bill is the first piece of legislation to hit his desk this session. He said, “Missouri businesses, manufacturers, health care providers, schools, churches, and many other entities across the state did not hesitate to step up and help their communities in the fight against COVID-19. None of these groups should be penalized for their efforts to help. They must be able to continue serving the public without risk of unnecessary claims.”
He also called on the House and Senate to consider Wayfair legislation to address the unfair advantage online retailers have over small businesses in Missouri. Parson said, “I am a strong supporter of lower taxes – in fact, I have signed several tax cuts into law. However, our small businesses, especially in smaller communities, are getting crushed right now because they cannot compete with huge online retailers. We must level that playing field and consider ways to responsibly invest those revenues and provide new opportunities for our state.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard Now Online
Missourians interested in finding out information about the state’s vaccination efforts can turn to a new website launched this week. Gov. Mike Parson announced the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, which will provide Missouri-specific data submitted by providers from across the state.
Parson said, “We are excited to announce the launch of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard. This dashboard will provide Missourians with the most up-to-date, Missouri-specific data available. It is important that we provide this resource and be as transparent as possible, especially as some individuals tasked with reporting Missouri’s vaccine data often fail to report the complete picture.”
Enrolled vaccinators throughout the state of Missouri continue to vaccinate those living or working in Missouri who are eligible under Phase 1A and Phase 1B – Tiers 1 and 2. The interactive dashboard includes total doses administered and also distinguishes the number of individuals who have received one dose or both doses. Seven-day averages of doses administered are also included as well as demographic information on individuals who have received at least one dose. This information shows the shares of individual populations by age group, sex, race, and ethnicity.
Additionally, those who live in Missouri and have received at least one dose are also captured in a county-level vaccination table. This shows how many residents have received a dose per reported county of residence.
Missourians are encouraged to visit MoStopsCOVID.com to see the latest vaccine updates, find out when they are eligible for the vaccine, and locate available vaccinators in their area.
If you have any questions regarding any state matters or legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact email me at Darrell.Atchison@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-1066.
It is an honor to serve as your State Representative.