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Linn County Leader - Brookfield, MO
  • Two of Our State Legislators List Priorities

  • As the new legislative session began on January 8, the LCL has contacted Linn County’s three voices in the Missouri General Assembly: Rep. Mike Lair, Rep. Tim Remole, and Sen. Brian Munzlinger. We asked them what their legislative priorities are for the current legislative session. What follows is a brief description of the committees they serve on and the bills that they currently sponsor and/or support.
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  • As the new legislative session began on January 8, the LCL has contacted Linn County’s three voices in the Missouri General Assembly: Rep. Mike Lair, Rep. Tim Remole, and Sen. Brian Munzlinger. We asked them what their legislative priorities are for the current legislative session. What follows is a brief description of the committees they serve on and the bills that they currently sponsor and/or support.
    Eighth District Rep. Mike Lair (R)
    Rep. Lair Chairs the House Education Appropriations Committee, as well as the House Joint Committee on Education. He also serves on the following committees: Budget, Retirement, Rules, and the Missouri Sportsman Issue Development Committee.
    Rep. Lair also currently sponsors House Bill (HB) 1157, Student Data Privacy; HB 1158, Curriculum, Standards, and Instructional Materials; and HB 1159, Limits On Tax Credits.
    HB 1159 would, quite simply, give the House Budget Committee Lair serves on the authority to impose limits on the amounts of all tax credits. The two biggest offenders at present are Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Historical Preservation Tax Credits. The return on investing in these tax credit programs is often not large enough to justify their escalating costs, and Rep. Lair would like to see caps placed upon tax credit programs so there is some limit to the amount of these incentives.
    If passed into law, HB 1158 would “prohibit the State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) from mandating curriculum, textbooks, and other instructional materials to be use in public schools.” The exception to that rule would be unaccredited school districts.
    HB 1157, otherwise known as the ‘Student Data Privacy’ bill, aims to restrict release of personal student information and provides for a procedure by which student data requests are to be handled. The bill further prohibits the release of certain kinds of demographic data such as political and religious affiliation.
    “We are proposing that any student data that is collected remain with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and not made public knowledge unless required by laws such as No Child Left Behind and the Patriot Act,” explains Rep. Lair. “As it stands, federal law now requires the reporting how many students are taking English as a second language. Presently, we have a school district where 40 percent of the students speak a foreign language, and state law requires interpreters to have a certain number of foreign language credits.”
    Seventh District Rep. Tim Remole (R)
    In response to request for his priorities this legislative session, Rep. Tim Remole listed ‘tax cuts,’ ‘job creation,’ ‘energy issues,’ and ‘downsizing state government.’
    The only bill Rep. Remole is sponsoring this legislative session so far is HB 1302, the proposed legislation that affirms the right of Missouri citizens to heat their homes and businesses with wood, in a wood-buring furnace, stove or fireplace.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The EPA is now regulating the burning of wood more strictly now,” observes Rep. Remole. “I just want Missourians to continue to have the right to heat their homes and businesses with wood if they choose to do so.”
    Seven states sued the EPA in 2013 for not more closely regulating the emissions from wood burners, and about 80 percent of wood stoves on the market today won’t meet the new emissions standards.
    With regard to lowering taxes, Remole is neither sponsoring nor co-sponsoring a tax-cut-specific bill, but he has strong feelings about making it easier to operate a sustainable business. “We’re looking at tax cuts for businesses and individuals,” explains Rep. Remole. “Doing so will put more dollars in circulation and grow the economy.” He adds, “States bordering Missouri are giving business owners incentives; they’re seeing growth while we’ve dropped to 43rd place when it comes to economic growth. We would like to reduce the cost and burden of worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. Extending unemployment benefits seems counterproductive to me. Business owners get penalized by excessive unemployment and worker’s comp claims so much that it’s getting harder and harder for them to experience growth. The government regulations business owners are facing— especially those related to energy costs—are making it difficult to stay in business.”
    Rep. Remole is also very interested in promoting HB 1506, a bill filed by Rep. Diane Franklin this legislative session that, if passed into law, will establish a grant program to support economic development in Missouri’s rural areas. The bill would provide up to $5 million annually to qualifying rural businesses, but would require tracking the number of jobs created by the grant, as well as meeting a quantitative measure of progress toward pre-established goals. To be eligible, the applicant would need to have an operating budget of less than $250,000 (i.e., small business). Furthermore, no single grant award would exceed $250,000.

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