With only two weeks left of the 2011 regular session, there are several measures we worked to approve this week. In these final weeks, there is sure to be a lot of activity in the Capitol as lawmakers push to get their priorities passed before the May 13 deadline.
There has been a lot of talk about economic development this year. This week, the Senate gave initial approval to House Bill 116, a bill that makes necessary reforms to the state’s tax credit system while also supporting programs that will make a positive impact on our economy. We can’t spend our way out of this recession, and HB 116 gives us the opportunity to grow our economy. From provisions which would sunset a variety of tax credit programs with a low return on investment to a measure to encourage international trade in St. Louis, the bill presents the right mix of economic development and reform.
This week, the Senate also gave first-round approval to a bill that would drug test suspected drug users receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. The program provides cash assistance to families that are facing hard times and are unable to find work. House Bill 73 would require individuals receiving TANF benefits to submit to and pass a drug test to avoid losing payments, if there is reasonable cause to believe they are using drugs. If a person is found to be using drugs or refuses to be tested, they would be ineligible for TANF for a three-year period. If, however, the individual successfully completes an approved substance abuse treatment program and does not test positive for illegal use of a controlled substance in the six-month period beginning on the date the individual enters such treatment program, he or she could continue to receive TANF benefits.
The Senate and House also worked this week to resolve conflict on the new congressional district map. The compromised map puts less of northern Jefferson County in the 2nd Congressional District than the House’s proposed map. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk. If he vetoes the map, it is our hope that we will have enough time to override the veto before the end of the regular session.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Engler: House bill gives us a chance to grow our economy
In his weekly report, Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, addresses bills that reform the state's tax credit system and requires those receiving public assistance to be drug tested: