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General Assembly Reaches Session Midpoint

It’s hard to believe time has moved by so quickly but this week marks the halfway point of the 2013 legislative session. It was a busy week as we moved several pieces of priority legislation through the House. We will now have a week off from the legislative hustle and bustle as we prepare for the final hectic weeks of session. It is a much-needed break that will give me time to spend in the district where I can talk with people about what they hope we will accomplish before session ends in May.

House Reauthorizes Benevolent Tax Credits (SB 20)

A tax credit bill approved by the House this week is now just one more vote in the Senate away from becoming law. The legislation would reinstate several tax credit programs that encourage donations to charitable organizations. Commonly referred to as benevolent tax credits, these programs offer a tax break to individuals who donate money to organizations like food pantries, child advocacy centers and pregnancy resource centers. The total cost to our state will be approximately $2.9 million each year in foregone tax revenue, but the benefit this investment will produce for countless Missourians will be priceless.

Amateur Sporting Events Tax Credit (SB 10)

A bill that passed the House this week and is now on the way to becoming law with the governor’s signature would create an incentive designed to attract amateur sporting events to Missouri. The bill would help the state land events such as NCAA tournament games and youth sports tournaments that have the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue for local businesses. Right now we are at a disadvantage in landing such events because we are competing with other states that have economic development incentives that give them a competitive advantage. By putting our own tool in place, we can help communities from Springfield to St. Louis land events that will have an enormous positive economic impact on the community.

Conscience Protection for Medical Workers (HB 457)

Also this week, we passed legislation meant to protect health care workers who refuse to participate in procedures that violate their religious, moral or ethical beliefs. With the bill, physicians, nurses and medical researchers could refuse to participate in procedures and research that involves abortion, contraception and stem-cell research. It is legislation I support because it serves as a shield that would protect medical workers from being fired, suspended or demoted for refusing to participate in procedures they find to be objectionable. It’s also important to note that the bill would not allow health care workers to withhold emergency medical treatment needed to save the life of a patient.

As always, it is an honor to serve the good folks of the 153rd District. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-1066 or you can e-mail me at steve.cookson@house.mo.gov .

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