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Legislative Assistant: Kathy Licklider

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St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 314-878-2088
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News and Issues

Almost every issue-oriented group has a questionnaire that they distribute to candidates prior to the election. Some of them are objective and polite, some of them are more confrontational, asking harsh yes or no questions for issues that are far too complex for a simple response. I don't expect everyone to agree with every one of my positions. However I respect your opinion and am happy to discuss your views at any time.

And for more information, here are links to my more recent newsletters.
  • 27th Edition — February 2018 — The Atomic Homefront documentary
  • 26th Edition — December 2017 — Upcoming Session and Federal Tax Bill
  • 25th Edition — September 2017 — Town Hall and HCR 3
  • 24th Edition — June 2017 — Special Session on Abortion
  • 23rd Edition — April 2017 — Mid-Session Report
  • 22nd Edition — February 2017 — And the New Session has begun
  • 21st Edition — November 2016 — Post-Election Thoughts and the Electoral College
  • 20th Edition — November 2016 — Thank You!
  • Veto Session Report — September 2016 — Vetos Sustained and Overridden
  • 19th Edition — September 2016 — November Ballot Initiatives
  • 18th Edition — July 2016 — Political Season and "How I stand IT."
For earlier newsletters, click here

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2017 Bills Passed and Approved by the Governor

Right to Work (SB 19) — Employers are barred from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization or pay dues or other charges required of labor organization members as a condition of employment. The bill contains a grandfather clause to not nullify current contracts unless the contract is modified. My personal opinion, reinforced by my father's lifetime of work as a union bricklayer is that this weakens a vital component in the labor and commerce equation.

I voted NO.

Transportation Network Companies (HB130) — This creates a framework by which ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft can operate throughout the state.

I voted YES.

Expert Witnesses (HB 153) — Tightens the definitions and conditions under which an expert witness may testify in court. I have concerns regarding the potential that this bill might have in prosecuting both criminal and civil lawsuits.

I voted NO.

Missouri Citizens Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials (HCR 4) — The commission recommended an 8% raise over the next two years for statewide elected officials, and a 2.5% raise for members of the General Assembly. It was my hope that an approval of the commission's recommendations would lead to a raise for other state employees.

I voted NO

Criminal Offenses (SB 34) — Among other provisions, this act creates the Blue Alert System for the notification of the general public in instances where law enforcement officers are killed or injured. The Blue Alert System has merit, however my opinion was that other provisions in the bill unfairly increased the degree of punishment on relatively minor offenses

I voted NO

St. Louis City Minimum Wage (HB 1194) — The City of St. Louis recently established a $10 per hour minimum wage. This act overrides that and will reset St. Louis's rate back to the statewide rate of $7.70. I disagree with this for two reasons; the first being that I feel that $7.70 is too low; the second reason involves my opinion that local authorities should have the ability to manage their own economies without preemption by the state. That's what local control is all about.

I voted NO

REAL ID Compliance (HB 151) — The REAL ID act was passed by Congress in May 2005, in the aftermath of security concerns highlighted by the 9/11 attacks. Until passage of this act, Missouri was one of four states that not in compliance. Without this, Missourian's that wish to travel via airline, enter U.S. Military facilities and Federal office facilities would have to provide a more rigorous form of ID like a passport, instead of their Missouri driver's license. The privacy concerns of some people were the primary reason for the delay, so with this bill, Missourian's will be given the choice between carrying a REAL ID-compliant or non-compliant driver's license or identification card. You will have a choice.

I voted YES.

Circuit Breaker (HCB 3) — Authorizes excess revenue sitting unused in various special state funds to be redirected for in-home and nursing home care in order to prevent more than 8,000 disabled or elderly Missourians losing their services.

I voted YES.

Child Protection (SB 160) — This bill has a number of components, most of them good (modifying the definition of child abuse and the definition of child neglect to include victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking, and in my opinion a few that are less so (expanding the definition of relative to include a person who is not related to the child, but has a close relationship with the child or child's family).

I voted YES

Project Labor Agreements (SB 182) — A PLA is an agreement between construction firms and construction unions. Under current state law, firms bidding to work on a public construction project can be required by local governments to enter into collective bargaining with the unions, hire workers through union hiring halls, and pay union wages and benefits, whether the contractor typically uses union labor or not. This legislation does not eliminate project labor agreements, but gives a contractor the choice to enter into an agreement or not. My personal opinion is that this threatens union jobs and could potentially allow substandard work to be performed by inadequately trained workers.

I voted NO.

Discrimination Law (SB43) — Prior to this legislation, according to the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), a practice is unlawful when the protected classification is a contributing factor in the decision to discriminate. This act changes that standard to the motivating factor. In other words, a person that might be suing a former employer for discrimination will now have to prove that their status as a protected class (i.e. race, sex or disability) was the primary factor, and not simply a contributing factor. My opinion is that this makes it more difficult for minorities to press a discrimination case in the Missouri state courts, rather than the Federal courts.

I did not cast a vote with regard to this bill. With its passage already guaranteed, I felt that even a NO vote would be participating in the enactment of a bill that in my opinion should have never been introduced.

Local Sales Taxes (SB 49) — Voters in St. Louis City or St. Louis County will have the opportunity to authorize a one-eighth cent sales tax for the purpose of funding the St. Louis Zoo. It also provides that residents of any other county that does not adopt a zoological sales tax may be charged an admission fee. Admission shall remain free. The St. Louis Zoo is a world class asset to our region, and this source of funding should help it retain that status for many years to come.

I voted YES.

Notable bills that failed to advance

Prescription Drug Monitoring (HB 90) — The primary provision of this bill is to establish and maintain a program to monitor the prescribing and dispensing of all Schedule II through Schedule IV controlled substances.

The purpose of this was to prevent the abuse of prescription pain killers (opioids) by prior to a physician prescribing an opioid to a patient, they could check to see if one or more other physicians had recently written the same prescription for that person. This is what is known as doctor shopping, a favorite method for people addicted to pain killers to feed their abuse of medication.

Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a similar registry. St. Louis County has already established a Prescription Drug Monitoring program. With that in mind, my preference would be that other counties simply join this program.

After initial passage in the House (I voted YES), the bill was sent to the Senate, where a number of amendments were added to it that in my opinion weakened the bill. This view was shared by the bill sponsor. With time expiring in the session, no other action was taken.

Lobbyist Gifts to Officials (HB 229) — This bill would have prohibited all types of lobbyists from making any expenditure for local government officials, their staffs, and specified family members. Local government lobbyists may make expenditures for events where all members of a particular political subdivision or all members of the General Assembly are invited.

I voted YES, however the bill died in the Senate.

Public Education (HB 118) — Sought to rewrite the state law governing student transfers from unaccredited school districts to neighboring accredited districts, along with other changes relating to public education. I felt that this bill gave too much to charter schools at the expense of public education.

I voted NO, however the bill died in the Senate.

Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (HB 485, HB 846, HB 911, SB 338) — Sought to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, banking or public accommodations. I fully support this bill and hope that it becomes law one day.

The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee, where it was heard and never given a vote.

Dark Money Ban (SB 73) — Sought to require public disclosure of donations to secretive dark money committees that are used to circumvent campaign contribution limits and hide the source of political donations. My opinion is that our democracy works best when it works in full daylight.

The bill was referred to the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee, a hearing was held, however there was never a vote taken on it.

Prevailing Wage (HB 104) — Sought to prohibit contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to being required to pay workers the local prevailing wage.

This passed the House, where I voted NO, however it stalled in the Senate.

Labor Organizations (HB 251) — Sought to impose new procedural barriers to the efficient and timely collection of union dues. It also would prohibit the labor organization from using or obtaining any portion of dues or fees to make political campaign contributions unless it obtains a written or electronic authorization from the member within the previous 12 months.

This passed the House, where I voted NO, however it stalled in the Senate.

Further information and tracking on these and other pieces of legislation can be found at:
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