- Associated Press - Friday, May 18, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on the last day of the Missouri 2018 legislative session (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

The 2018 annual Missouri legislative session has ended with the passage of tax cuts for both individuals and corporations.

Lawmakers planned to open a special session within minutes to consider potentially impeaching Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Republican-led Legislature pushed through a range of tax code changes in the final hours of session.

Those include proposals to cut the individual income tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.5 percent for most Missourians in January 2019, as well as a corporate income tax cut from 6.25 percent to 4 percent in 2020. To offset the loss in revenue, lawmakers want to pare down federal income tax deductions and change how multistate corporations calculate their taxable income.

Lawmakers also sent a proposed 10-cent gas tax increase to the Nov. 6 ballot for voters to consider. The money would go to road and bridge repairs and the Highway Patrol.

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5:10 p.m.

Missouri lawmakers have passed a bill to cut available tax credits for renovating historic buildings.

House members voted 113-29 Friday to reduce the current $140 million annual cap to a maximum of $90 million. It would allow the Department of Economic Development to authorize up to $30 million more for projects in high-poverty areas if the initial $90 million is doled out.

The amount authorized for historic tax credits has been a controversial issue in the Legislature for the past decade. Some say the tax credits have diverted money away from other government services, while supporters say the tax credits have helped revitalize numerous communities.

Last year, the state authorized $154 million in historic tax credits. That exceeded the current cap because state law doesn’t include smaller projects in the limit.

Historic tax credit bill is SB 590 .

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4:50 p.m.

Missouri lawmakers have voted to give state colleges and universities more leeway to raise tuition.

The bill passed the Senate 24-8 and the House 109-31 on Friday. It would allow public universities to raise tuition by as much as 5 percent on top of hikes to keep up with inflation.

The additional 5 percent increase, however, would only be allowed if state funding had been cut the year before. Increases could also not be larger than the amount of the previous year’s cut.

Currently, state colleges can only use inflation rates to increase tuition.

The measure also requires unaccredited schools to notify potential students about their lack of accreditation, among other provisions.

The bill is SB 807 .

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4:35 p.m.

The Missouri Legislature has voted to prevent anyone younger than 16 from being married.

House lawmakers voted 135-3 Friday to pass the bill.

The legislation would also require 16 and 17-year-olds to have a parent’s permission to be married, and would bar anyone 21 or older from marrying anyone under 18.

The bill also removes the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, and provides a way for people convicted of less-serious sex crimes to be removed from the sex offender registry.

Proponents say changing the marriage age will help prevent human trafficking.

Opponents say parents should have more power to allow their children to be married.

The bill SB 655 .

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4:00 p.m.

Missouri lawmakers have voted to send a statue of Harry Truman to Washington for display in the U.S. Capitol.

Every state gets to display two statues in the Capitol, and lawmakers decided in 2002 that the 33rd president should replace former U.S. Senator Francis Preston Blair Jr. Friday’s 124-17 vote in the House reverses that decision, keeping Blair and instead removing former senator Thomas Hart Benton.

The choice is complicated because Blair was an unabashed racist and Benton inherited two slaves. Ultimately the decision was made on partisan grounds. Missouri Republicans in Congress wanted both parties represented. Truman and Benton were both Democrats and Blair began his career as a Republican.

The measure next heads to the governor.

The resolution is SCR 50

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3:20 p.m.

Missouri Lawmakers have voted to help new mothers struggling with addiction pay for treatment programs.

The bill, approved by the House Friday in a 133-6 vote, would allow women to receive Medicaid coverage for more than a year after giving birth to pay for substance abuse and mental health programs.

Currently, Medicaid coverage ends about two months after a woman gives birth.

If the proposal is approved by the governor, Missouri will need a waiver from the federal government to enact the extension. Missouri’s waiver would be the first request of its kind, and a notable expansion for a state that didn’t expand Medicaid after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

The Medicaid bill is HB 2280

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3:10 p.m.

The Republican-led Missouri Legislature has passed a bill to cut the corporate income tax rate from 6.25 percent to 4 percent.

House lawmakers gave the bill final approval in a 96-42 vote Friday, just hours before the 6 p.m. deadline to pass bills.

The 2.25 percent tax cut for businesses would take effect in January 2020 if made law. To offset the revenue loss, the proposal would change how multistate corporations can calculate their taxable income.

The Republican-led Legislature earlier Thursday also passed a bill to cut the current 5.9 percent individual income tax rate for most Missourians to 5.5 percent in January 2019.

Individuals’ income tax rate would gradually drop to 5.1 percent if the state meets revenue targets. Federal tax deductions would be scaled back to make up for the loss in revenue.

Corporate tax bill is SB 884 .

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2:45 p.m.

The House has rejected a measure that would have allowed a governor to appoint a lieutenant governor in the event of a vacancy, as long as that appointment had the approval of the Senate.

The proposal was attached to an unrelated bill and approved by the Senate May 11. The House rejected it Thursday, and the Senate accepted its rejection Friday.

Missouri law isn’t clear on how or whether to fill a lieutenant governor’s vacancy.

The process of succession is relevant because the House begins a special session Friday to consider impeaching Gov. Eric Greitens. If representatives did vote to impeach the governor, and Greitens was removed from office, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would vacate his current position to become governor.

Two senators say they will try to amend the proposal onto another bill later Friday.

The original amendment was SA 1

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1:45 p.m.

The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill barring insurance companies from denying coverage to ER patients based on their final diagnosis.

The proposal, approved by the Senate Friday 33-0, was a response to a now-discarded policy by the insurance company Anthem. That policy had allowed coverage to be denied if it turned out a patient didn’t need emergency treatment but their symptoms had led them to believe they did.

The measure also changes the process for how charges are negotiated between insurance companies and health care providers. That is an effort to address “surprise billing,” or situations when patients visit in-network providers but are inadvertently seen by out-of-network doctors.

Proponents say this will protect patients. One lawmaker says the negotiation changes could put doctors at a disadvantage.

The bill next heads to the governor.

The bill is SB 982

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1:40 p.m.

The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill to change the state’s prevailing wage law.

House lawmakers gave the measure final approval in a 97-46 vote Friday.

School districts, cities and other governmental entities currently must pay more than the state’s minimum wage for maintenance and construction work. The specific amount is determined by the type of work being done and a project’s location.

If enacted, the bill would change how some local minimum wages are calculated for public works projects. The bill would not impact projects worth less than $75,000.

Proponents say the proposal could help local governments save money. Opponents argue that the changes will hurt small contractors and workers.

Prevailing wage bill is HB 1729 .

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1:30 p.m.

Missouri voters will get a chance to weigh in on a proposed fuel tax increase that would go to fund roads, bridges and the Highway Patrol.

House lawmakers voted 88-60 on Friday to put a gas tax hike to voters. It’s set for the Nov. 6 ballot.

The proposal would gradually raise the gas tax from its current 17 cents per gallon to 27 cents per gallon by 2022. Legislative researchers project it could raise as much as $293 million for the state road fund by fiscal year 2027.

Backers said the proposal will leave it to voters to decide whether to raise taxes. But primarily Republican opponents in the House on Friday slammed the measure as a massive tax hike.

Gas tax bill is HB 1460 .

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11:35 a.m.

People convicted of carrying hidden firearms without a concealed carry permit would be eligible to have their records expunged under a bill passed in Missouri.

House members voted 143-0 Friday to give the measure final approval.

The bill deals with people convicted of concealed carry violations before a new law that took effect last year made those permits largely unnecessary in Missouri.

House Democratic Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty says it doesn’t make sense to continue punishing people for something that’s no longer a crime. She says the bill offers second chances.

She says expungement wouldn’t be available to people who also were convicted of violent crimes, such as assault or kidnapping.

Concealed carry bill is SB 954 .

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1:20 a.m.

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature is poised to pass sweeping changes to the state tax code before reconvening in special session to begin considering the impeachment of GOP Gov. Eric Greitens.

Lawmakers face a 6 p.m. Friday deadline to pass bills in the annual regular session. Then, 30 minutes later, they plan to open the proceedings against Greitens.

Still pending is a proposal to cut the corporate tax rate from 6.25 percent to 4 percent in 2020. The bill needs final approval in the House.

Lawmakers late Thursday night pushed through a bill to cut the individual income tax rate for most residents from 5.9 percent to 5.5 percent in 2019. The rate would then gradually decrease to 5.1 percent. The bill also would reduce a federal income tax deduction.


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