Legislative Update: MoDOT funding, safe passing, anti-harassment, anti-texting while driving, and much more

What will we be working on at Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol April 13th?  Here are the main bills and issues.

When you join us in Jefferson City, you become part of the small but very import
When you join us in Jefferson City, you become part of the small but very important group making a big difference in Missouri

There are some huge issues out there this year--that's why we need you to join us in Jefferson City Monday, April 13th--because only when we talk to our legislators about the importance of these issue can we educate them about the importance of bicycling and walking to Missouri

SB 540 - 2+2+2 Fuel tax increase - passed Senate Transportation Committee today; next stop is Senate Floor.

This is the latest plan to solve Missouri's statewide transportation funding crisis. If this or some similar solution fails to pass, MoDOT will implement the "Missouri 325 Plan" which provides for maintaining only 8000 miles of its roads--leaving the remaining 26,000 miles to rot in a state of neglect.

Unfortunately, those 26,000 miles are exactly the miles on MoDOT's system used most often by people who bicycle and walk.  They cut through every city, every town, and every county in Missouri.

Unfortunately, the solution being proposed in SB 540 is to raise the fuel tax--which, by the Missouri Constitution, can be used onliy for roads and highways.

So--no funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, transit, Amtrak, or any other of Missouri's important transportation needs.

Your voice will help us continue the conversation with our state officials and MoDOT, so that bicycling and walking will be funded in Missouri, whether funding is found through SB 540 or some other way.

SB 540 web page.

HB 4 - Bicycle & Pedestrian Funding Line Item - Waiting to be introduced

Sen Schupp of St. Louis County has proposed a very small new line item in the Missouri state budget.  Though small, ift it passes it will be the first time in modern history the Missouri state budget has included any amount for general bicycle and pedestrian needs.

The bicycle/pedestrian line item was suggested by Sen Schupp (St Louis County) who asked Sen Curls (Jackson County) to offer the amendment.  Sen. Schaefer (Columbia, Approp. Committee Chair) is supportive.  Sen Schupp has talked to & garnered support for the line item from Approp. Committee members Sen. Gina Walsh (St Louis Count)  & Sen. Pearce (Warrensburg).

HB 721 - House Bicycle & Pedestrian Omnibus Bill - Waiting for a Committee Hearing

HB 721 includes all of our major legislative priorities, in a bill introduced by Rep. Nate Walker of Kirksville:
     1. Safe passing of bicyclists & pedestrian/move into next lane to pass
     2. Vulnerable Road User law
     3. Anti-harassment of bicyclists and pedestrians
     4. Update of basic bicycle law (update of "as far right as safe" provisions)
     5. Update/modernize bicycle equipment/lighting/reflector regulations
     6. Update/modernize definition of bicycle, pedestrian
This will be the first legislative outing of all of these provisions, which have been under discussion in our statewide legislative committee for some years.  So we need you to visit with your own legislators to start to educate them about how important these provisions are to the millions of Missourians who bicycle and walk.
We are hoping for a hearing on HB 721 the week of Capitol Day--your attendance at Capitol Day will help make it happen!

SB 556 - Senate Bicycle & Pedestrian bill - Waiting for a Committee hearing

SB 556 includes a smaller selection of our priorities, sponsored by Senator David Pearce, Warrensburg:
     1. Safe passing of bicyclists and pedestrians/change lanes to pass
     2. Updated definitions of bicyclist and pedestrian
As with HB 721, we are hoping for a hearing on SB 556 the week of Capitol Day.  Your visit with legislators April 13th helps us build the momentum to move this forward!

SB 3 - Banning texting & cell phone use while driving - Hearing held

SB 3, which would ban texting & restrict cell phone use while driving, seems to be stalled again this year, after an early Senate Committee hearing.  Senate Transportation Committee leadership was not very receptive during the hearing.
It is your visits to our legislators in Jefferson City that helps educate them about the importance of issues like distracted driving. 

SB 267 - Increased penalties for drivers who injure/kill - Hearing held

Even with the enthusiastic support of Sen. Schaefer (powerful Republican legislator), this bill seems stalled for now.
Increasing penalties for the very small percentage of drivers who are actually dangerous--injuring and killing through the careless or dangerous driving--and keeping these bad drivers off the road is one of our top priorities.
Talking with your legislators about the importance of this issue is the most important step you can take to help move this issue forward in Missouri.

HB 265 web page.

Come on out to Capitol Day April 13th--it really makes a difference!

As you can see, we have some really meaty issues to discuss with our legislators this year in Jefferson City. 

It is your personal contact with your legislators at the Capitol that--over the long term--makes more difference than anything in moving issues like these forward.

It is easy and fun--truly as easy as taking a bike ride with some of our key legislators on a Monday afternoon, and then changing into your Sunday best to get to meet your own legislators and tell them how important bicycling and walking is to you.

So please plan to join us in Jefferson City on Monday, April 13th.