By Chris Dinkins
Greetings Friends of the 144th
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Ozark Mountain Festival in Eminence. As many of you know, Shannon County will now be in my legislative District. It was a great opportunity to meet individuals and visit with old friends. Some of you may remember, former Rep. Fitzwater originally had Shannon County in his district before the previous redistricting. There are a lot of great people in Shannon County and I look forward to working with them. This week we had special guest from Ellington. The 8th grade class was able to make the long trip to Jefferson City to tour the Capitol. The class was able to go the Whispering Gallery, the Dome, the Senate, the House and the Thomas Hart Benton Gallery. We had a busy week on the floor so unfortunately I was unable to get them on the floor but they were able to see floor action from the upper gallery. I hope all the students enjoyed their time here.
After nearly five months of hard work and numerous negotiations and compromises, the General Assembly wrapped up the 2022 legislative session with a long list of substantive policy wins for Missouri families and businesses.
In total, the House and Senate reached final agreement on nearly 60 bills and sent them to the governor for his approval. Legislators addressed issues such as tax relief for Missouri taxpayers, enhanced transparency and integrity for Missouri’s elections process, expanded educational opportunities for Missouri young people, safeguards for the rights of Missouri’s landowners, and stronger protections for victims of sex trafficking and sexual assault. After months of discussion, lawmakers also reached a final agreement on a new map for Missouri’s congressional districts. During their time in Jefferson City, legislators also approved a state operating budget that makes record investments in education, infrastructure and assistance for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.
The General Assembly officially adjourned on Friday, May 13, which concluded the portion of the legislative session when bills can be passed. The governor will now have the opportunity to act on the various bills sent to him. He has the option to sign bills into law or veto legislation he finds problematic. The legislature will return in September for an annual Veto Session in which members could potentially override any vetoes made by the governor.
Over the Interim I will be highlighting a few of the bills each week.
Tax Relief for Missouri Taxpayers – HB 2090 will provide substantive tax relief in the form of a one-time economic recovery tax credit for Missouri residents who paid personal income tax in the state for 2021. The plan caps the total amount of non-refundable tax credits issued at $500 million and allows anyone filing an individual Missouri personal income tax return to receive a credit equal to their tax liability up to $500. Married couples filing jointly would receive up to a $1,000 credit. The credits are limited to taxpayers earning $150,000 or less for an individual, or $300,000 or less for a married couple.
Election Integrity – HB 1878 contains a number of provisions designed to ensure safe, secure elections with timely, accurate results. The bill will require Missourians to present a photo ID when they go to vote, but will also allow people without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to be counted, election officials would have to verify the voter’s signature based on voter records, or the voter would need to return later that day with a valid form of identification. The bill also requires the use of hand-marked paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines, mandates the use of air-gapped election equipment that prevent the possibility of electronic manipulation, authorizes the Secretary of State to audit election results, and requires all election authorities or political subdivisions to have cybersecurity reviews. The bill also allows no-excuse absentee voting up to two weeks prior to the date of an election, and bans private donations to fund elections.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112
Chris Dinkins is the area’s State Representative for the 144th Legislative District. She can be reached by email ChrisDinkins@house.mo.gov or by telephone: 573-751-2122