A veteran Missouri lawmaker who sponsored bipartisan child care tax credit legislation this year will pre-file the bill again on December 1.
State Rep. Brenda Shields’ (R-St. Joseph) bill died on the 2023 session’s final day in May due to a Senate filibuster on unrelated issues. Representative Shields tells 939 the Eagle that while the filibuster hurt, she had to wait three weeks to file the bill until the governor proposed the package in mid-January. Her 2024 bill will ready on January 3, which is when state lawmakers return to Jefferson City.
“I’ll talk with the (Missouri House) Speaker (Dean Plocher of Des Peres) to make sure that he assigns it to committee early. If we can get a head start on this and get this bill over to the Senate before spring break, I think we have really great hope to get it passed,” Representative Shields says.
Shields spoke Wednesday at a panel in Columbia co-hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the University of Missouri and the Columbia and Jefferson City Area Chambers of Commerce.
The Missouri Chamber says the Show-Me State has a child care crisis that is costing Missouri more than $1-billion annually. Republicans and Democrats in Jefferson City say child care is one of the most important issues facing residents statewide, and they’re optimistic they can push bipartisan legislation across the finish line in 2024. The bipartisan bill from Shields this spring was also sponsored by State Sen. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City). Representative Shields, who serves on the House Budget Committee, tells 939 the Eagle that she and Senator Arthur are passionate about child care.
“We know that that early development and the care of children is how we get people to work. People are afraid to leave their children if they don’t know that it’s quality, if it’s not reliable and if it’s not affordable,” says Shields.
There were also a number of other state lawmakers at the forum, including State Reps. Cheri Toalson Reisch (R-Hallsville), Willard Haley (R-Eldon) and Kurtis Gregory (R-Marshall).