Missouri State Representative Lauren Arthur represents Missouri House District 18, which includes North Kansas City and the surrounding Kansas City-North areas of Clay County. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we publish these newsletters from elected officials please click here.
Below you will find updates on legislative items regarding paycheck deception, newborn screening requirements, and the unemployment system.
I appreciate the feedback from the surveys. If you haven’t had the chance to mail in your responses, you can also complete it online here (only for residents in my district).
Thank you for taking time to stay updated. If you ever have a question or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I appreciate all the responses from the last newsletter.
The Missouri Legislature continues its push to change state labor laws. On February 9th, by a vote of 95-60, the House approved legislation requiring public employees’ annual permission before union dues could be taken from their paychecks. The bill HB 251 now makes its way to the Senate.
With more money pouring into politics from big corporations than ever before, it’s crucial that working families are able to protect their own interests. The “Paycheck Deception” law being proposed would create burdensome restrictions that interfere with union members’ rights to participate in the political and legislative process. These laws also weaken the ability of working people to advance working family issues such as legislation that would create jobs and stop job outsourcing.
I voted against this bill. I believe that it is just another attack on labor organizations, and I will continue to stand up for working families.
NEWBORN SCREENING REQUIREMENTS
On February 13th, the Missouri House of Representatives passed third read and passed HB 66. This bill expands the newborn screening requirements to include Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Hunter Syndrome (MPS II) and requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to apply for specified available newborn screening grant funding and gives the Department discretion in accepting the terms of such grants.
I voted in support of this bill. It has the potential to save the lives of newborns and improve health outcomes for moms. Early treatment is essential and will impact the lives of families and childen.
You can watch me speak about this issue on the House floor HERE.
It is expected that the House will take up for perfection and third read HB 281, a bill related to Missouri’s unemployment benefits, this week. This bill is similar to HB 150, which passed in 2015 but was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court for being unconstitutional for procedural reasons.
Currently, an individual in the state of Missouri who loses their job through no fault of their own can receive unemployment benefits for up to 20 weeks. This bill would allow for 20 weeks of unemployment benefits only if the statewide unemployment rate is 9% or higher, and a sliding scale when state unemployment is lower – down to 13 weeks when unemployment is 6% or lower. Most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment.
These changes are unnecessary and unfair. The unemployment system is intended to serve as a bridge to future employment for those who are out of work due to circumstances beyond their control. This would cause much pain to those experiencing a tough time already. I intend to speak out and vote against this bill.
CHILDREN’S TRUST FUND
I am proud to announce that I was appointed to serve as a board member for the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund, a foundation for child abuse prevention. You can learn more about the organization HERE.
An upcoming event I’d like you to be aware of:
Construction Career Fair
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Mohart Center 3200 Wayne Ave. Kansas City, MO 64109
Registration: 8:30 am, Career Fair: 9 – 11:30 am