Citizens of the 125th District,

General Assembly gives final approval to legislation to enhance support for foster and adoptive parents (HB 429 and HB 430)

The House gave final approval to HB 429 by a vote of 127-8. It would authorize an income tax deduction for Missouri taxpayers for the expenses related to providing care as a foster parent. The bill would authorize a deduction of up to $5,000 for married couples or single parents, provided that individuals who are married but file separately can only claim up to $2,500 each. The Senate added other provisions to HB 429 including the expansion of the adoption tax credit, the Birth Match Program, and additional improvements to the state’s adoption regulations and proceedings.

HB 430 was approved by the House by a vote of 142-0. It would expand the state’s existing $10,000 tax credit to any child adopted by Missouri taxpayers on or after January 1, 2022. Currently the credit applies only to adoptions of special needs children. The bill also increases the annual limit on the amount of tax credits that can be authorized from $2 million to $6 million. The Senate also added provisions to expand the tax credits for contributions to domestic violence shelters and maternity homes.

House approves funding bill to support vulnerable Missourians (HB 21)

The House has sent a funding bill to the Senate that would provide resources to help Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. The legislation appropriates more than $342 million in funding to support seniors in nursing homes, provide care for the developmentally disabled, expand mental health programs, add public defenders to the criminal justice system, and boost K-12 school transportation funding

For Fiscal Year 2022, House Bill 21 would:

• Provide skilled nursing homes with $88.2 million in new reimbursement, approximately $10.00 a day for each bed

• Provide public K-12 schools an additional $15.5 million for formula transportation funding

• Provide developmentally disabled providers an additional $19.7 million in reimbursement

• Provide Home and Community Based Services (in-home care), including Consumer Directed Services (CDS), with an additional $19,711,680 in state and federal funds (bringing the total increase in the House version of the FY22 budget to $166,378,997)

• Provide $2 million in funding for a workforce diploma program (adult high schools) to help adults earn a diploma, plus another $1.8 million in new funds for existing adult high schools

• Provide an additional $588,000 for the recruitment of families to participate in the foster care system (Missouri has more than 13,500 kids in the system)

• Add funding to the Public Defenders’ Office to hire 15 additional attorneys for the purpose of eliminating the wait list for legal services (combined with the increase of 12 attorneys in House Bill 12, the total increase now equals 27 new public defender attorneys)

• Provide $2.9 million to establish a pilot program with pediatric hospitals to train family members to become certified home health aides (that will lead to savings for in-home care)

• Provide for the expansion of several mental health programs across the state, including community mental health liaisons (that assist law enforcement) and crisis stabilization centers

• Add an additional $250,000 to the Jobs for America’s Graduates program so that more high schools can participate in this workforce development program

HB 402 prohibits the Lottery Commission, state lottery, any contracted organization, or any of their employees from publishing the name, address, or identifying information of a lottery winner in printed or electronic form for distribution or sale to the public. An individual may permit public disclosure of his or her information by providing written release to the state lottery on a form provided by the state lottery if requested.

HB 825 establishes that a person commits the offense of mail theft if the person intentionally takes mail from another person’s mailbox or premises without the consent of the addressee and with intent to deprive the addressee of the mail.

State Representative Jim Kalberloh