Tanning beds and tools for rapid firing rifles are among the targets Friday as state lawmakers pre-filed bills for the 2018 session.
Republicans and Democrats in the Missouri Senate and House have already filed dozens of proposals to change, add or eliminate laws. The next regular legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 3.
Guns are regularly a hot topic in Jefferson City, whether bill sponsors want less government interference or more regulatory oversight.
Other gun-related proposals from Republicans would restrict the use of firearms databases and allow people with concealed carry permits to bring firearms into places of worship without seeking prior permission.
Democrats have other ideas, of course. A proposal from Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, would make it illegal to knowingly possess, sell, repair or manufacture a bump stock or trigger crank — two modifications that can increase a firearm’s rate of fire. Authorities suspect the gunman responsible for the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas used a bump stock.
Brown, a retired teacher, said he wanted to prevent people from effectively upgrading firearms to automatic firing mechanisms. By a quirk of the calendar, Friday was the 16th anniversary of the death of one of his students, who Brown said was shot 40 times in front of his house in a case of mistaken identity.
“I loved him like he was my own son,” Brown said of the slain student.
He emphasized that he was acting in the interest of public safety.
“I’m not advocating to take away people’s guns, because I believe in responsible gun ownership and I believe in the Second Amendment,” Brown said.
Other Democratic proposals include criminalizing the failure to secure a firearm around children, barring certain people involved in domestic violence situations from owning guns, making the costs of firearm safety courses tax-deductible and making it illegal to knowing sell a firearm to people on the federal No Fly List.
Two bills from Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, could keep teenagers pale — and out of jail.
One of Schroer’s bills would prevent salon owners from allowing people younger than 18 to use tanning beds. The bill wouldn’t prohibit teens from applying products like spray-on tanner.
Schroer said he was inspired to file the bill by a statewide rise in melanoma cases and input from his wife (who is a nurse practitioner) and his friends in the healthcare community.
“I’m always hearing stories of these gorgeous men and women who are plagued now with skin cancer” because they tanned too much when they were “young and dumb,” Schroer said. “This is a massive health care concern.”
Schroer noted that UV exposure from beds is much higher than from natural sunlight, and he called the uptick in melanoma cases “kind of terrifying.”
“Whether this passes this year or not, I don’t know,” he said, “but I know we need to have a discussion.”
Another Schroer proposal would bring Missouri in line with 45 other states that do not automatically consider 17-year-olds as adults regarding criminal offenses. As with teens and tanning, “the brains of these young people are still forming,” Schroer said.
The bill would still allow juveniles to be tried as adults for heinous crime, Schroer said. He added that other states “have saved tons of money” with similar laws due in part to lower rates of recidivism for criminals released from juvenile institutions compared to those who go through adult prisons.
At least 15 other states already ban minors from using tanning beds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A look at the rest
Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, is one of three Democrats working together to try to restore potential funding cuts to Missourians receiving in-home or nursing home care.
Gov. Eric Greitens’ veto of a one-year funding bill was projected to cause cuts to services for up to 8,000 elderly or disabled Missourians. The temporary measure lawmakers proposed was rejected by the governor as a “fake fix” that was possibly unconstitutional.
However, the cuts are affecting far fewer than expected — less than 5 percent among thousands whose health had been reassessed to determine their levels of care. Data provided by the Department of Health and Senior Services shows that of 2,297 people who had been reassessed as of Nov. 20, only 104 people were slated to see cuts.
Quade and two other Democratic colleagues on the House Budget Committee still want to restore these service cuts and bring back funding for a program that helped about 64,000 Missourians afford prescription medication. She estimated that it would take about $73.5 million to restore the cuts.
Quade wants to allow Missouri to collect sales tax revenue on transactions made over the internet, with the estimated additional revenue at $358 million. She told the News-Leader her proposal was substantially similar to previous streamlined-sales-tax legislation filed by Republicans and Democrats.
Legislation from Reps. Deb Lavender and Peter Merideth would sweep money from various state funds and reduce a discount for timely filing sales and use taxes, respectively.
Other early proposals include:
- Creating a state program to provide free or inexpensive long-term birth control to low-income women (Rep. Dan Stacy, R-Blue Springs)
- Adding fentanyl, a powerful and deadly opioid, to the drugs included in laws for felony trafficking offenses (Schroer)
- Allowing people who intentionally block interstate highways to be charged with felonies in some cases (Schroer)
- Creating a tax credit for new grocery stores in “food deserts” — places with relatively high poverty and low access to grocery stores (Rep. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis)
- Permitting early voting by allowing people to vote absentee without providing a reason (Rep. Pat Conway, D-St. Joseph)
- Requiring state properties with flagpoles to fly flags honoring prisoners of war (Rep. Mike Henderson, R-Bonne Terre)
- Prohibiting cell phone use and text messaging while driving in most cases (Rep. Cloria Brown, R-St. Louis).
Due to the volume of bills filed on Friday, Capitol staffers faced a glut of legislation to upload and process. As a result, the actual text of some bills is not yet available for viewing online.
(story shared by the Springfield News-Leader. Read the original article here )