New Missouri Speaker of the House Ron Richard, R-Joplin, is expected to make committee appointments today, and 36th District Rep. Bob Nance is hoping his name pops up on the House Healthcare Committee.
Nance said he was on the committee two years ago, but was not reassigned last year. Nance believes he can bring some valuable insight to the committee. Nance’s wife Sally is the Chief Executive Officer for Excelsior Springs Medical Center.
Nance said he also expects to be a part of the House Agriculture Policy and the House Insurance Policy committees.
One major focus of the legislature will be job creation. Nance has already signed onto one bill that would help high school juniors and seniors find work while giving employers a tax break. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Brown, D-Kansas City, and was originally focused on creating jobs for inner city kids. Nance said he signed onto the bill after it was reworked to include kids from across the state. Nance also said he wanted limits on the tax credits so larger companies like World’s of Fun in Kansas City or Six Flags in St. Louis, cannot take advantage of the credit. Nance said the credit should be focused more on smaller businesses.
“If you do a certain tax credit, suddenly World’s of Fun and Six Flags might hit the state for a lot of money because of all the kids they hire,” he said. “They’re going to hire those kids anyway.”
Nance is not optimistic the bill will get very far considering the economic environment the state is currently in, with projected revenue shortfalls in excess of $340 million.
Nance is also working on a bill that would allow convicted felons to sell alcohol at certain businesses such as a convenience store. Nance said two separate convenience store clerks in Excelsior Springs and Richmond brought the issue to his attention. Nance said the bill would allow a worker to accept a supervisory position at the store as an example. He said due to the person’s conviction they are not able to advance in salary or benefits.
“Those convictions stay with them the rest of their life. They get out and they try to improve their job, but they can’t advance,” Nance said. “Otherwise, we would have that person in the [low-paying job] the rest of their life.”
Nance said the bill would allow state regulatory agencies to develop some rules to accompany the law.
Nance said he would also focus on Missouri’s seniors. One bill he has signed onto would raise the amount of food stamps certain seniors receive each month. He said many seniors are only receiving $10 in stamps. Nance said this too would be a program that would require funding. He believes it could face some opposition because of that.
“You can’t buy much for 10 bucks now,” Nance said. “But there again it’s something that will take some money, and with the state’s finances the way they are I might meet some people that dislike it for that reason.”
Nance has also signed onto a bill that would allow a $1,200 transfer allowance for seniors on Medicaid, who are in nursing homes. He said some of these seniors could move into apartments with some in-home healthcare that would save the state in the long run.
“The person could actually become part of the community again,” he said.