We consider the override of the Governor on a broad-based tax cut designed to encourage economic growth a major victory. This marks the first time in nearly a century that Missourian's have had a significant tax relief. I find it unbelievable that after the Governor vowing to work with us to craft this bill, and the Legislature including every point the Governor's office wanted, he still bowed to special interests and vetoed the bill. The great thing about our system is that a bi-partisan effort of two thirds of the General Assembly prevailed in making this happen! We also finished an eight-year herculean effort to revise our outdated criminal code. The modernization of the code took countless hours this year to vet each and every provision to do something that hadn't been done since 1979. The finished product will finally give judges and prosecutors the tools they need to ensure our public safety.
We took on the continuing problem of our massive infrastructure by putting a proposal on the ballot that would, if approved, increase our Missouri sales tax by three-fourth of a percent. Missouri is 7th in the nation in miles of paved road and 3rd. in number of bridges. We have depended mainly on fuel taxes to maintain our systems but with declining sales of gasoline and diesel due to better fuel economy, we would need to raise the tax on fuel by nearly 50 cents to meet the needs of the state. There would be exceptions for food and medicines and 5% would go to the cities and 5% to counties to improve their roads and bridges also. It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out.
Healthcare is always an interesting topic. This session we required insurance companies to establish equal out-of-pocket costs for oral as well as intravenous administered chemotherapy. There had been a huge disparity and some patients are much more comfortable using the oral medication. We provided patients, mostly small children, with intractable epilepsy with the option of using an extract from hemp known as CBD oil. For seizures that do not respond to other forms of treatment, this new technology has been shown to be incredibly effective. We established a rule that would require doctors to advise women with dense breast tissue about the possible benefits of additional tests. This simple mandate can save countless lives and Senator Richard's wife Patty, was a tireless advocate for the bill. We also approved an extension to the Mo Rx Drug Prescription Program for an additional three years. This program plays a critical role in the health of our citizens.
The education efforts were truly an effort of the entire body. House members and Senators, Republicans and Democrats, we were all involved because every one of us is dedicated to improving the education system in Missouri. To begin with, K12 was funded at a rate higher than ever before in history this session. Instead of the 25% of general revenue required by law, we have dedicated over one-third of the total general revenue to educate our students. Having said that, besides having the highest paid educators and most money per student in the state, the schools in St. Louis and Kansas City are doing a dismal job. Our efforts at education reform were directed at these areas only! The schools in our area, as well as most of the rest of the state are doing quite well and certainly don't need our interference. On the other hand, schools that have shown no improvement in the last 17 years and are graduating less than half their students need a new approach. I could write a couple of pages about what is in the bill, but I believe it's our best chance of giving students that want to learn and get out of endless cycles of poverty an opportunity.