CFP NEWS Headlines:
Inside This Issue:
Download Current Issue:
|Community Free Press Exclusives:|
City of Springfield Legislative Priorities – 2014
DRAFT to City Council
New Legislation Sought by the City of Springfield
• Municipal Court Capital and Operations Fee – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will allow a Charter city with its own municipal court building to assess up to a $10 fee on paid citations for the purpose of funding the construction, remodel, repair, and ongoing maintenance of that city’s municipal court building. The City’s municipal court facility is insufficient and is located within the footprint of Jordan Valley Health Center’s growth path.
• Methamphetamine Labs – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and/or support state-wide legislation regulating those products containing pseudoephedrine, including the option of limiting the availability by prescription only, given the link between the availability of those products and the local manufacturing of methamphetamine.
• Authority to Expunge Records – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will give the City of Springfield authority to expunge records of individuals convicted of a marijuana possession and/or use charge after three years without a subsequent, related conviction.
• Campaign Finance Reform – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will implement meaningful campaign finance reform to lessen the influence of large donors (individuals or corporations) seeking to have significant influence on the legislative process.
• Testimony via Teleconference – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will allow public entities to provide testimony to legislative committees via interactive video teleconference in order to reduce the amount of taxpayer money expended for public officials and staff to travel to and from the Capital. Often, public officials and staff must spend the majority of a day traveling in order to provide ten minutes of testimony on a bill.
• Oversight of Greene County 911 Advisory Committee – The City of Springfield joins Greene County in requesting that oversight of the Greene County 911 Advisory Board be returned to the Greene County Commission whereby the Commission continues to appoint board members and approve the budget.
• Eliminate Requirement for AED Medical Direction – Ten other states have eliminated the need for medical direction in order to increase the number of AEDs within a community. We are not aware of any negative repercussions of this change in other states.
• Reduce AED Use Liability – Reduce the liability exposure to those involved in housing, providing, and using AEDs in an emergency situation (individuals, businesses, Medical Directors, and advisors).
• Clarify Tax “Repeal” Ballot Language – The City of Springfield requests that the State-defined “repeal” ballot language be clarified from “Do you want to repeal the tax?” to “Do you want to continue the tax?” to minimize voter confusion.
• In general, the City of Springfield opposes any bill that would result in a new net cost to the City of Springfield and/or its citizens.
• In general, the City of Springfield opposes any bill that would reduce or remove local authority.
Maintain Local Control and Avoid Unfunded Mandates
• Maintain Local Control – Preemption of local laws, including local taxing authority, limits the ability of local governments to deal quickly and effectively with problems which are of concern to local citizens. Decisions on which revenues should be collected should be left to local voters and officials who are the most accountable to the constituencies paying the tax and receiving the services.
o Avoid Unfunded Mandates – The City requests that the state and federal governments not impose any unfunded mandates on local governments. While the state and federal governments will likely be tempted to force unfunded mandates on local governments and other entities as both wrestle with budgetary shortfalls, please consider that local governments are also grappling with their own budgetary shortfalls. We request that EPA and DNR, as well as all other federal and state entities capable of instituting unfunded mandates, consider community affordability and develop new, more comprehensive and accurate measures of community affordability than those currently in use.
o Return Local Control of Telecommunication Tower Placement – During the 2013 legislative session, special interests were able to get a bill passed that removed a significant amount of local control from municipalities regarding telecommunication tower location and permitting. Courts have recently placed an injunction on this bill. If this new law is overturned by the courts, we suspect a similar bill will be introduced in 2014. The City asks our local delegation to reject legislation that will result in a loss of local control.
o Red-Light Cameras and Efficient Traffic Enforcement – The State should allow municipalities the latitude to decide whether and how to enforce red-light traffic cameras and other traffic enforcement initiatives. The requirement of reasonable, technical, and legal standards by the State, however, is encouraged.
o Equitable Funding – The City encourages the legislature to ensure that State funds are distributed fairly throughout the State. To assist in covering the anticipated State budget shortfalls and fund other needed programs, the City supports the following revenue enhancement initiatives:
• Eliminate discounts for timely payment of taxes and change from a 2% on-time-payment discount to a 2% late-payment penalty.
o Codes – The City opposes any attempts by the State to preempt local zoning and building or fire codes, particularly with regard to billboard regulations and right-of-way uses.
o Personnel Issues – The City opposes any attempt by the State to preempt or change its current legal obligations and established framework regarding collective bargaining. The City should have final say regarding all personnel issues associated with its employees, including their wages, hours, and conditions of employment.
o Hazardous Materials Cost Recovery – The City opposes the State usurping municipalities’ ability to recover costs for providing hazardous materials responses.
o Maintain Tax-Exempt Status for Bonds – The City supports retaining municipalities’ tax-exempt status for bonds. Eliminating the tax-exempt status would cost our citizens millions of dollars in additional interest charges.
o State Resource Reductions Resulting in Service Cuts – Similar to the City’s opposition to HB 253 during the 2013 legislative session, the City opposes deep cuts to the State budget that would result in a significant reduction of City or State services to Springfield citizens.
Protect the Natural Environment
• Promote the efficient use of energy, seek alternate energy sources, and promote local food protection.
• Protect our Air and Water Resources – We oppose cuts to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ budget that will result in unfunded environmental mandates and cost shifting to cities and counties. The City requests that economic feasibility and affordability be considered and addressed in the enforcement of all unfunded environmental mandates. The City supports efforts to develop/assure a long-term regional water supply and infrastructure.
• Promote an Independent DNR Fee Study – We support the Association of Missouri Clean Water Agencies’ negotiated requirement that an independent organization, overseen by AMCA representatives, conduct a study of DNR’s existing fees to determine whether they fairly reflect the actual cost of service as required by the Hancock Amendment.
Economic Development and Fighting Poverty
• Strengthen Springfield’s Ability to Compete for Jobs – Strengthen current economic development tools available to local governments to improve the State’s ability to compete in attracting and retaining quality jobs. Protect existing job creation/retention tax credit programs and consider providing additional State tax credits and other financial incentives for projects that create and retain quality jobs and for capital investments in new or expanding businesses.
• Support Tourism Funding – Tourism is an important part of Springfield’s economy, which the City promotes by marketing to leisure travelers as well as convention and sporting event sponsors. Protect existing funding, and support funding increases, for the Missouri Division of Tourism, so it can continue to offer its Cooperative Marketing Program.
• Education and Workforce Development – Strong education and proven workforce development programs are critical components of economic development and efforts to combat poverty. The City supports sufficient, equitable State funding for K-12 and State-supported, higher education institutions. The City also supports dedicated funding to Workforce Development from the State’s General Fund. We also support restoration of funding to the Parents as Teachers program and funding for other early childhood development initiatives given the documented link between early childhood development and economic development, public health, and public safety.
• Transportation – Safe and functional road systems are essential to attracting and retaining businesses and promoting tourism. State and Federal fuel taxes, as well as other current and new sources of revenue, are essential to keeping pace with citizens’ demands. Funding for multi-modal transportation is an economic development driver and should be restored to adequate levels in the State budget.
• Affordable Housing – Affordable housing is an important element in attracting and retaining an adequate workforce. Protect existing affordable housing programs and consider providing additional resources to support affordable housing.
• Promote Downtowns – A community’s downtown is an indicator of the health of any local economy and a significant factor in attracting and retaining young workers. Protect existing programs that provide incentives for the revitalization of historic downtowns and consider additional support.
• Economic Development Tax Credits – The City of Springfield strongly encourages lawmakers to support and protect proven tax credit programs that are critical economic development tools used to stimulate employment and leverage private investments. We oppose efforts to reduce the effectiveness of such programs, including proposals to subject them to the annual appropriations process. The City of Springfield also encourages legislators to implement the findings of the Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission.
• Initiative Petition Process – Missouri is 1 of 17 states whose constitutions allow for initiative petitions. The City of Springfield encourages lawmakers to consider legislation that would ultimately enhance the existing process, ensuring a fair and transparent process for Missourians. Such changes could include the implementations of a bipartisan panel for review of the proposed ballot language and statewide public forums to allow citizens the opportunity to hear from opponents and proponents of the issue.
• Funding – Adequately fund public health agencies and programs. Provide financial support for wellness initiatives as a proactive way to limit/reduce future public health costs.
• Immunization Support – Recognizing that Missouri has one of the lowest childhood immunization rates in the country, the City of Springfield encourages the State to provide the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and local public health agencies the necessary resources to support proven mercury-free childhood immunizations.
• Tobacco Tax Increase – The City of Springfield encourages the State to increase the State tobacco tax. Missouri has the lowest tobacco tax in the country, resulting in a loss of potential revenue and increasing public health costs.
• Springfield Clinical Campus – In order to meet the growing demand for health care professionals in the region, the City of Springfield supports efforts to preserve existing programs and expand educational opportunities for medical students through a variety of partnerships, including the development of a clinical campus in Springfield as a partnership of University of Missouri School of Medicine, CoxHealth, and Mercy as incremental State funding becomes available.
Public Safety and the Criminal Justice System
• Funding –The City encourages the State to fully fund county jail expenses and supports measures to ensure that the actual cost of housing inmates is paid to counties. The City of Springfield encourages the State to adequately fund the criminal justice system throughout the State.
• Seat Belts – According to MoDOT, from 2008 to 2010, 63% of all drivers killed in crashes were not belted, and that number rises to 68% in teens. Since these deaths and injuries are preventable by wearing a seatbelt and many municipalities within the state have already implemented similar requirements, a statewide primary seatbelt law is encouraged that would allow police officers to fully enforce seatbelt use.