Report: Representative Jim Kalberloh, 126th District

To the Constituents of the 126th District,
Trying to wrap up a busy week at the Capitol! Committee hearings are in full swing now and keeping us hopping! In my committees we heard bills in Transportation Oversight and Budget Appropriations. I also presented one of the bills I filed, HJR 17, which would freeze the assessment on personal residence for anyone over the age of 70. If passed, this would keep seniors property tax on their residence from increasing so dramatically and running some out of their lifelong residence. It would not reduce or eliminate it, but would keep it at where it is presently and those on fixed incomes would better be able to budget this expense.
I had several visitors this week from people back in the district, which is always a treat! My sister and brother-in-law, Marley and Sharon McLerran stopped by on Monday as they were passing through Jefferson City. Jim and Peggy Mackie from Hickory County stopped by Tuesday and we had a nice visit, they are great people! Wednesday, Kaitlyn Bruce, from Osceola, stopped by with State Fair Community College. She is a student in their dental hygienist course, telling me about all the great things that SFCC offers and being close to home is a nice perk! St. Clair County Sheriff Lee Hilty stopped by with the Sheriffs from Cedar and Barton counties and updated me on their offices. Wendy McGhee, Henry County Circuit Clerk, also stopped by Wednesday and filled me in on her extremely busy schedule and work load!
We passed 3 bills out of the house this week as well, as bills are now coming to the floor for the full house approval:
Missouri House Approves Vital Public Safety Legislation (HB 301)
House Speaker Dean Plocher and the members of the Missouri House of Representatives took an important step this week to provide assistance to areas of the state plagued by violent crime. The House approved HB 301 by a vote of 109-35. It was during his Opening Day Address that Speaker Plocher told his colleagues they “cannot be bystanders as unchecked crime causes the systematic destruction of our proud state.” He called on House members to make it a priority to enact common sense reforms and provide the resources necessary to protect every Missouri community. Plocher said HB 301 represents a good faith effort by the legislature to provide assistance to areas of the state such as St. Louis where violent crime has run rampant.
HB 301 is a wide-ranging public safety bill that includes a key provision that would allow the governor to appoint a special prosecutor in areas of the state with an excessive homicide rate. The bill specifies the governor would be empowered to appoint a prosecutor in any circuit or prosecuting attorney’s jurisdiction that has a homicide rate in excess of 35 cases per 100,000 people and where the governor determines there is a threat to public safety and health. The special prosecutor would be appointed for a period of up to five years.
The sponsor of HB 301, who previously served as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said it’s important that the state act to help with the problem of violent crime in St. Louis or in any part of the state.
HB 301 also contains several other provisions designed to improve public safety in Missouri. The bill would establish the Peace Officer Basic Training Tuition Reimbursement Program to help address the shortage of police officers in some parts of the state. The bill would also ensure the Department of Corrections to implement a policy to help offenders apply for Medicaid and obtain vital documents such as a birth certificate or Social Security card.
Additionally, the legislation establishes factors for a judge or judicial officer to consider when setting bail, includes protections for a judicial officer’s personal information, and creates Blair’s Law.
House Approves Bill to Allow Direct Access to Physical Therapy (HBs 115 & 99)
Lawmakers gave strong bipartisan approval this week to legislation that would allow patients to have direct access to physical therapy. The Missouri House approved HBs 115 & 99 by a vote of 147-1.
The sponsor of the bill noted that 47 states currently allow some form of direct access to physical therapy. She pointed out that studies show patients with direct access have fewer visits and less overall cost. “Direct access is about individual choice in health care decisions through the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations,” said the bill’s sponsor. She added, “Allowing individuals to make their own decisions regarding their own health
care is really great policy, and eliminating the referral requirements is one step to making health care more accessible to all people.”
Under HBs 115 & 99 a physical therapist would no longer need a prescription or referral from a doctor in order to evaluate and initiate treatment on a patient. To qualify, the physical therapist would need a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree or five years of clinical practice as a physical therapist.
The bill also states the physical therapist must refer to an approved health care provider any patient whose condition is beyond the physical therapist's scope of practice, or any patient who does not demonstrate measurable or functional improvement after 10 visits or 30 days, whichever occurs first.
Missouri House Approves Supplemental Budget Bill (HB 14)
This week the members of the Missouri House approved a supplemental spending bill that will allocate additional funds for the current state operating budget. The House gave initial approval to the bill by a vote of 148-2.
In total, the bill allocates more than $627 million in funding. Some of the highlights of the supplementing spending plan include:
-         8.7% pay increase for state workers
-         Does not include general assembly and statewide elected officials
-         Additional $2 an hour shift differential for night shift direct care workforce (prisons, hospitals, other care facilities)
-         $286.5 million in spending authority for the State Emergency Management Agency.
-         $628,750 appropriation to the Department of Agriculture to help address the growing black vulture problem impacting livestock owners statewide.
-         $20 million to establish school safety programs, including physical security upgrades and associated technology, bleeding control kits, and automatic external defibrillators.
I am honored to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House. If at any time, you have questions, concerns or ideas regarding state government, please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5388 or
State Representative 
Jim Kalberloh
District 126