OpinionJune 5, 2024
Missouri awaits governor's approval on key bills enhancing transparency, veteran support and property rights. HB 2111, HB 1495, SB 912 and SB 895 aim to bolster accountability, mental health services for veterans, and protect property rights.
Chris Dinkins
Chris Dinkins

Mother Nature sure has thrown many storms into our district lately. I want to thank all of the utility companies that have worked tirelessly to restore our electric and phone services. I want to thank all of the volunteers who have cleaned up the debris from our roads and community. Without your help, our community would not be where it is today.

The following bills still await the governor’s signature:

HB 2111, a measure aimed at bolstering government transparency and accountability, awaits the governor’s signature. This bill grants the state auditor broader authority to audit any political subdivision where evidence of misconduct, including fraud or waste, exists, without requiring an invitation from local authorities or voter petition. It also ensures the confidentiality of audit records to protect whistleblowers. This legislation fulfills Missouri's commitment to transparent and responsible governance.

HB 1495 emphasizes the state's commitment to addressing veteran mental health and preventing suicide. This legislation tasks the Missouri Veterans Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health, to expand efforts in line with the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019. The bill mandates a thorough review and subsequent implementation of procedures, programs, and treatment options to combat veteran suicide, with a focus on tailored support and proactive measures. HB 1495 also requires annual reporting on progress and effectiveness, demonstrating Missouri's proactive approach and dedication to ensuring the well-being of those who have served the nation.

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SB 912 encompasses a comprehensive set of measures aimed at supporting the military community. It includes provisions such as enabling a full state tax deduction for military and National Guard enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, simplifying the process for veterans to obtain a handicap placard for their vehicles, covering expenses for military specialty license plates for veterans, and mandating collaboration between the Missouri Veterans Commission and the Department of Mental Health to combat veteran suicide. Notably, the bill extends benefits to veterans who served on active duty or in the National Guard between 2001 and 2021, streamlining procedures for disabled veterans to present VA documentation instead of requiring alternative paperwork to the DMV to verify their disability status.

SB 895 seeks to push back against federal lockdown policies, clarify landlord-tenant proceedings, and protect property rights, receiving significant support in the House. The bill prohibits local eviction moratoriums unless authorized by state law, ensuring statewide consistency for property owners and tenants. It mandates the filing of property transfers with outstanding judgments in circuit court within 30 days, ensuring proper recording and resolution of debt obligations. Additionally, the bill amends trespassing laws to include unauthorized entry and refusal to vacate vacant properties, increasing penalties and establishing a process for swift removal of trespassers. This legislation will promote fairness and transparency in landlord-tenant proceedings and reaffirm Missouri's commitment to protecting individual liberties and state sovereignty against federal overreach.

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.

CHRIS DINKINS represents Missouri’s 144th House District. The district includes Bollinger, Iron, Madison, Reynolds, Shannon, Washington and Wayne counties.

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