Representative Jim Neely's Capitol Report
This week I will be heading back to Jefferson City to finish the special session and to have our annual veto session. The Senate has sent bills back to the House that were addressed in special session and changes made.
Governor Extends Order Allowing Remote Notarization
As Missourians continue to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, the state is working to ensure citizens can get important documents notarized without the need for in-person contact. Gov. Mike Parson recently signed an executive order that will continue support for remote notary services and suspend personal appearance requirements.
In signing the new order, Parson said, “It is important that we continue to remove barriers and keep Missourians moving forward during this time. This Executive Order will help ensure that Missourians can still safely sign estate planning documents such as a wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and self-proving affidavits without placing themselves, their notary, or any other individuals at risk.”
The order supplements a new law approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Parson. The legislation, HB 1655, is designed to modernize Missouri’s notary statutes. Parson said his executive order will work with the new law to make notary services more accessible to the public. The order also directs activities in a way that protects public health and safety.
The governor’s order can be viewed at the following link: https://www.sos.mo.gov/library/reference/orders/2020/eo14
State Treasurer Kicks off College Savings Month
As part of College Savings Month, Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is working with the Missouri Office of Administration to encourage saving for education. Together they are sharing opportunities to learn about the benefits of Missouri’s 529 Education Plan (MOST 529).
Data demonstrates that having an education savings account makes it more likely a child will attend a higher education institution. Data also shows that education influences socioeconomic mobility. This is why I have worked to lower the price of the plan and to make it as versatile as possible. While COVID-19 has likely impacted the ability for many Missourians to save for future education right now, providing access to savings options remains important as we recover and move forward.
The Treasurer’s Office and MOST 529 staff are working with employers across the state to provide webinars about program benefits to their employees. Missourians who wish to learn about saving for education—and using a MOST 529 to save money on K-12 tuition—can attend webinars on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout September. Information about registering can be found at the following link: https://ascensus.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpf-irqTkqH9C8g4v-ADQ-kXLOQb....
Missouri’s 529 Education Plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan for education expenses. Money in MOST accounts can be used to pay for K-12 tuition and trade, college, and graduate school tuition and expenses. Contributions are eligible for state tax deductions, which can save families up to $864 a year, and assets in MOST 529 accounts grow tax-free. More information about MOST 529 is available at the following link: https://www.missourimost.org/.
Missourians Urged to Register to Vote during National Voter Registration Month
September is National Voter Registration Month and state officials are encouraging Missourians to take action to register to vote or verify their registration.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said, “With a November presidential election just around the corner, we’re encouraging all Missourians who are eligible to make sure they are registered. If you’re already registered, it’s important to verify your voting information. It’s crucial that all Missourians have the opportunity to cast a ballot and make their voices heard on Election Day.”
Missourians can visit www.GoVoteMissouri.com to register, check their registration status or get more information about registering to vote. In order to register, you must be a U.S. citizen, a Missouri resident and 18 years old by the day of the election.
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 7. Voters can find their local election authority’s contact information at the following link: https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/localelectionauthority.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112. Please do not contact me via social media. These messages are easy to overlook and may not be responded to in a timely manner.