Representative Jeff Coleman, District 32
I hope you are staying cool and enjoying your summer. In this report I want to address the issue of CRT (Critical Race Theory) as I have received multiple phone calls and emails regarding this matter.
CRT (Critical Race Theory)
This is the latest endeavor to further the rift in our nation, to broaden the divide between the races. It is my humble belief that this new wave of ‘teaching’ our youth coaches them to demonize our country’s founding fathers, to look upon our constitution with an evil eye, and cast suspicion on Caucasians. This is wrong, plain and simple. Anytime a race, religion, gender, is blanketed and cast into a category is stereotyping. My wife and I have taught our children to judge individuals by their actions, to exercise caution, and remember the Golden Rule.
Bottom-line, I oppose CRT and will fight on the House floor, on the school board, and anywhere else to keep this out of our children’s schools.
Expanding Sunday Liquor Sales (SB 126)
Governor Parson recently signed a bill into law that is meant to end the confusion and inconvenience to customers that has resulted from special hours of sale on Sunday for beer, wine, and other liquor. The new law will expand the hours these items can be sold on Sunday so they are available from 6 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Current law limits Sunday liquor sales to 11 a.m. through midnight on Sundays. Supporters of the change put into place by SB 126 say it removes the inconsistency in the law and makes every day the same in regard to the hours that liquor can be sold.
The legislation also permanently legalizes carry-out liquor sales. The to-go liquor option was temporarily authorized during the COVID-19 pandemic to help restaurants stay afloat while normal business lagged. With SB 126 signed into law, customers will continue to have the option of purchasing to-go drinks in leak-proof, sealed containers as long as they also purchase a meal.
Supporters say the to-go option during the pandemic was a huge boon to many restaurants in the state, and was extremely popular with consumers. The new law will give consumers increased choices while also decreasing regulatory burdens and helping businesses to remain profitable.
Supporting Firefighters (SB 45)
The Missouri General Assembly took a strong stand in support of the men and women who put their lives on the line each day as firefighters. Lawmakers approved legislation that creates a fund to provide relief to firefighters who develop cancer while on the job.
The bill allows three or more political subdivisions to come together to create a “Voluntary Firefighter Cancer Benefits Pool”. The pool would then be allowed to provide payments to individuals who develop cancer as a result of their work as a firefighter. Inclusion in the pool is voluntary, and not mandatory.
Under the act, any political subdivision can make contributions to the pool. The pool may also accept or apply for grants or donations from private or public sources.
Supporters say this is a way to support the men and women who receive little compensation as they put their lives on the line to serve Missouri communities. They note there is a higher risk of more than a dozen different types of cancer for those who have been exposed to burning chemical compounds. The benefits pool will help firefighters who develop cancer to get the care and treatment they need.
Protecting Missouri from the Menace of Feral Hogs (HB 369)
As Missouri continues to look for ways to protect landowners from the immense damage caused by feral hogs, lawmakers have taken action to help prevent the spread of these destructive swine. The General Assembly passed and Governor Parson signed legislation that will stiffen penalties for those who transport and release hogs into the wild.
The feral hog problem has existed in Missouri since the late 1990s. Currently, more than 30 Missouri counties have established feral hog populations. The creatures can cause immense damage to farmland in a very short period of time. A group of ten hogs can destroy 10-20 acres overnight. The rooting and wallowing done by feral hogs contributes to soil erosion, reduces water quality, and damages agricultural crops and hay fields, as well as destroys sensitive natural areas such as glades, fens, and springs. It’s estimated that feral hogs have caused billions of dollars in damages across the country.
Feral hogs are also highly adaptable animals that breed at an alarming rate. One sow can give birth to two litters of about six piglets twice per year. The result is a population growth rate of about 166 percent per year.
While the state works to deal with the existing feral hog population, legislation passed this year is meant to prevent further spread of the animals. The bill creates a fine of up to $2,000 for anyone who recklessly or knowingly releases any swine to live in a wild or feral state.
The bill also stiffens the penalty for repeat offenders who possess or transport feral swine through public land. Anyone found guilty of subsequent violations would be guilty of a class E felony. The goal is to deter individuals from releasing feral hogs onto Missouri land.
Helping Missourians Afford the Cost of Broadband
While the House Special Interim Committee on Broadband Development continues to look at ways to improve broadband internet access across the state, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working to make internet service more affordable for those who can access it. The FCC recently announced a new Emergency Broadband Benefit program to reduce the monthly cost of internet service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An eligible household can get up to $50 per month off an internet bill. The benefit also provides a discount up to $100 per household toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop or tablet if the household contributes $10 to $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
Has experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Internet service providers can help sign up eligible households until funding for the program runs out.
More information about this program can be found through the Missouri Department of Economic Development at ded2.mo.gov/GETCONNECTED or by calling 833-511-0311.
Please let me know If you have other concerns and suggestions. If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally, please call my office at 573-751-1487, or email my office at email@example.com.