Spring break is over. It was a good opportunity to listen to the various Jefferson City Council and school board candidates. I was very encouraged to see so many good candidates. More importantly, everyone needs to vote in these local elections because your local council and school board members probably have a more direct impact on your daily lives than anybody in the Legislature. Your local elections are important.
While on spring break, I also had time to look at the budget at the Capitol. I was looking through our budget for social programs and realized if we did not have so many volunteers in society doing so many things, what horrible shape our society would be in, and our social program budget would be out of reach.
Government does not have the money or ability to replace all the fine work volunteers do. I think everybody should take a little bit of time and think about what our lives would be like if we didn't have volunteers.
Meanwhile, back at the Capitol, my amendment to preserve and save the presidential primary should be passed out of the House on Monday; after which, the bill will go to the Senate. Primary elections provide our citizens with greater influence over who becomes the president of our country. It is imperative we protect everyone's right to participate in our presidential primary elections.
House Bill 557/560, the Child Residential Home Notification Act, is my bill addressing the unlicensed child residential facilities that were committing vile abuse against children. As I have detailed in this column in the past, facilities that house children all day and night for 365 days per year face no regulation whatsoever if they simply claimed they were religious. They didn't even have to submit to a fire safety inspection, background checks or allow any visual inspections of their facilities.
You may have seen our attorney general has filed more than 100 charges against the owners of one of the homes for the last three years. He is investigating other homes.
Keep in mind, there are many good religious residential care facilities. This bill protects those homes, but it does give the state the opportunity to eliminate those that are not in fact religious and are abusing the system to the detriment of so many good religious organizations changing the lives of the children who they house. This bill has the endorsement of the Catholic Church, Baptist Church and child care advocacy groups. It's a bill where everyone came together and realized we need to pass it. It should be passed out of the House on Monday and then headed to the Senate.
House Bill 384 should pass in the House on Monday. This bill simply makes provisions to ensure the financial stability of the Second Injury Fund, and it was filed at the request of the Industrial Labor Commission to enable them to continue providing benefits to disabled workers. I believe this bill will have some opposition in the Senate as it did in the House, but the differences are not insurmountable, and I believe it will pass in the Senate.
House Bill 162 deals with limited liability companies. It has passed out of the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee and is awaiting assignment to the floor. This bill addresses the issue of deadlocked LLCs. The secretary of state also added an amendment on it addressing the problem of LLCs that are no longer being used. We have thousands and thousands of those that are not up to date. The secretary of state sees the major problem, and this is another bill that should not be controversial.
The Real Estate Association has also filed an amendment on HB162 that should be another non-controversial issue. Their amendment is aimed at clarifying how LLCs can be used to adjust to today's market and the difference in the way real estate agencies operate and the tax consequence relating to such agencies. I think this bill will be on the floor fairly shortly after we complete budget.
Of my remaining bills, while they are moving through, I am working with leadership, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and others to combine a number of non-controversial bills dealing with our judicial system into one larger bill. I may or may not be a sponsor of that bill. I personally think the chairman of the Judiciary is the right person to sponsor that bill. All I want is for the bills I believe are best for my constituents and the state as a whole to pass. I don't care whether or not my name is on the bill. When your name is on a bill, you generally get a pen from the governor for signing. Fortunately, I have all the pens I need.
The good news is, every representative I know at the Capitol is earning their keep. Each year, I thought it would be different and at the end of the year and hoped that the House and Senate would work together more. However, human nature is that they want to have their bills passed. We at the House of Representatives think our bills are more important, and I think we have both forgotten our simple mission is to serve.
As always, call or email with your questions, thoughts and concerns.
State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 59th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.