On the opening day of the legislative session, House Speaker Rob Vescovo discussed his background as a foster child, difficulties getting adopted and the challenges he faced.
He also called on his colleagues to ease burdens on foster families.
The General Assembly gave final approval of two bills intended to support foster and adoptive parents Monday.
House Bill 429 and House Bill 430 each received strong Senate support before returning to the House for a final vote.
HB 429 authorizes a Missouri income tax deduction for expenses related to providing care as a foster parent. It authorizes a deduction of up to $5,000 for married couples or single parents, provided that individuals who are married but file separately can only claim up to $2,500 each. The state Senate added provisions to the bill including expansion of the adoption tax credit, the Birth Match Program and additional improvements to state adoption regulations and proceedings.
The House gave final approval to the bill in a vote of 127 in favor and eight opposed Monday.
HB 430 passed final approval in the House unanimously. It expands the state's existing $10,000 tax credit to any child adopted by taxpayers on or after Jan. 1, 2022. The credit currently only applies to adoptions of special-needs children.
The bill also increases the annual limit on the amount of tax credits that can be authorized from $2 million to $6 million.
The Senate added provisions to expand the tax credits for contributions to domestic violence shelters and maternity homes.
"This is a great day for the thousands of kids who are currently in our foster care system, waiting for a family who can provide them with a loving home," said Vescovo, an Arnold Republican. "I want to thank (bill sponsor Rep. Hannah Kelly) for taking the lead on this issue and working with all parties to create legislation that will create additional opportunities for children to find families that will help them grow into healthy, productive adults."
Both bills now head to Gov. Mike Parson's Office and await his signature.