I voted against term limits when Missouri residents voted on this issue in 1992. To me, Missouri already had term limits in that every two years, voters had the ability to vote out a House incumbent who was not performing up to expectations, and every four years they had that same opportunity related to Missouri Senate members, the governor, etc. I see term limits as a lazy solution that produces more problems than those solved. An informed and active electorate is our only real defense against elected officials who are unethical, lazy, or in service to special interests with goals that do not benefit the incumbent’s district.
In any case, my “seniority” is now bringing me some opportunities that I have not had in previous sessions. Last year, my six-year relationship with a fourth-term colleagues across the aisle led to our working together to get one of my bills passed with her as the lead sponsor since she had more power as a majority party member. We were successful in closing a loophole so that parents will not be denied health coverage for an adopted child.
This year my status as a “senior” means my bills are being assigned to committee more quickly. I have had three hearings, and I expect that House Bill 637, the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri bill, will be heard within two weeks of our return from Spring Break (on March 28). Here are the bills for which I am lead sponsor that have been heard already this year:
House Concurrent Resolution 35 – Requests the Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard to establish a voluntary reporting program for Missouri National Guard members and veterans who have been exposed to depleted uranium – heard in the Veterans Committee on March 1 and voted Do Pass 14-0. I hope this may move to floor debate.
House Bill 636 – Establishes the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act which requires hospitals and health care facilities to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault victims – heard March 9 in Children and Families Committee. I am currently working with committee members to try to find consensus language that will allow this bill to move forward.
House Bill 581 – Establishes the Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Act which authorizes an individual income tax credit equal to 20% of any earned income tax credit claimed by the taxpayer on his or her federal income tax return. President Ronald Reagan called the EITC “the best anti-poverty, the best job creation, the best pro-family measure to come out of Congress.” This bill will die in the Tax Reform Committee that heard it, but it is well worth additional study and hopefully will move forward in a better budget year.