April Public Affairs Report
By Heath Clarkston
COLE COUNTY AND JEFFERSON CITY MUNICIPAL ELECTION ON APRIL 6th
On April 6h, Jefferson City and Cole County residents will head to the polls for the general municipal election on several local offices and issues. In Jefferson City, voters will elect five of the ten city council seats. In addition, voters will elect the City Prosecutor and City Municipal Judge position.
As of the filing deadline, the following candidates have filed for office in Jefferson City:
Ward 1 : David Kemna (incumbent) unopposed
Ward 2 : Laura Ward (incumbent) and Edith Vogel
Ward 3 : Mary Schatz and Scott Spencer
Ward 4 : Derrick Spicer, Ryan Estes and Leonard Steinman
Ward 5 : Mark Scheiber (incumbent) and Alicia Edwards
City Prosecutor : Gaylin Carver (incumbent) unopposed
City Municipal Judge : Scott Evans and Angela Silvey
Cole County voters will get to vote on Proposition A that would expend the current ½ cent sales tax for another five years to fund numerous capital improvement projects. The HBA has been supportive of this tax and its extensions over the years as it has been very positive for our local economy.
COVID-19 VACCINATIONS TO BECOME WIDE OPEN APRIL 9
Governor Mike Parson has announced Missourians in Phase 2 of the state vaccination plan will become coronavirus vaccine-eligible on March 29. Then Phase 3, which includes all adult state residents, will be activated to receive a vaccine on April 9. The activation of Phase 2 is estimated to extend vaccine eligibility to 880,000 Missourians that includes those employed in construction, critical manufacturing, higher education, and remaining food and agriculture sectors. This also includes homeless and disproportionately affected populations with an emphasis on racial and ethnic minorities, among others.
BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL TAX FILING DEADLINES EXTENDED
On March 19, Governor Mike Parson announced an extension of the state’s individual tax filing and payment deadline for the 2020 tax year. The Missouri Department of Revenue has moved the deadline from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The state deadline now reflects the announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS that individual taxpayers will receive extensions to file and pay federal income tax for the 2020 tax year. The state’s DOR will automatically provide this filing and payment relief, so filers do not need to take any action to qualify.
MISSOURI SENATE PASSES FUEL TAX INCREASE
The Senate dedicated floor time Tuesday afternoon to debate SB 262 (Schatz, R-Sullivan). This bill increases the current excise tax of 17.4 cents per gallon on motor fuel by 2 cents per year over a period of 5 years. When the act is complete, the excise tax on motor fuel will be 27 cents per gallon. This act contains a referendum clause that allows the tax to be assessed upon a vote of the people. The bill was previously amended to mirror the House companion bill, HB 1044 (Ruth, R-Festus), and allows the motor fuel tax to be repaid to the consumer in the form of a rebate should he/she have appropriate documentation. During debate, the sponsor offered substitute langue to provide personnel for the rebate program and increase fees for electric vehicles. After about 10 hours of debate, the bill was returned to the calendar to be considered further another day.
The Senate dedicated floor time Wednesday morning to revisit the language. During debate, the sponsor withdrew his substitute and offered new substitute language to decrease the overall tax to 12.5 cents, remove the rebate sunset clause, and phase in the electric vehicle fee increases over a 5-year time period. Lastly, the substitute includes language from SB 370, to bring Missouri into federal compliance by enacting a lifetime ban from driving a commercial motor vehicle for any person convicted of using a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving “severe forms of human trafficking in persons,” and to increases from 10 years to 20 years the maximum age of a motor vehicle required to have its odometer readings recorded in certain circumstances. After no debate, the Senate provided its first of two necessary approval votes. On Thursday March 11th, the Senate third read and passed SS#2 for SCS for SB 262 by a vote of 21-13. An emergency clause was also adopted by a vote of 29-5. The bill will now be sent to the House for further consideration.
SENATOR ROY BLUNT DECIDES NOT TO SEEK REELECTION
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt announced earlier this week that he will not be running for re-election in 2022 when his current term expires. Senator Blunt, age 71, began his political career in 1973 as Greene County Clerk, serving a dozen years. In 1984, he was elected Missouri Secretary of State. He successfully won Missouri’s 7th congressional seat in 1996, serving in the U.S. House until he successfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010, succeeding Senator Kit Bond. In recent days, at least 10 names have been mentioned as possible candidates in 2022 to succeed Senator Blunt including Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R).