Business at the Missouri Capitol has been in full swing. After multiple meetings and long hours into the evenings, the Appropriations Budget Committees will soon be wrapping up their 2015 proposed budgets. Then, with House and Senate approval, will be sent to the Governor to sign. Well over 600 House Bills have been submitted to special committees. Some of those passed, are now being debated on the House Floor.
House Bill 1430. Under current Missouri law, Medical providers might be compelled to participate in a life-ending procedure against their wishes or face a lawsuit or worse. HB 1430, sponsored by House Speaker Tim Jones, received House approval and hopefully the Senate and Governor will concur. Under the proposed changes to statue, providers and institutions alike are protected from being forced to perform abortions both legally and civilly. With a simple declaration to the employer, a physician, nurse, technician or otherwise can opt-out of these procedures without fear of being fired or sued. To protect the patient, the legislation stipulates that emergency services must still be offered to their fullest extent and the opt-out notice must be received well in advance, ensuring that all staff on hand are ready and capable to deliver emergency healthcare under any circumstance.
House Bill 1133 also passed with House approval. This bill will create a prescription drug monitoring program that will oversee the prescriptions of our state's doctors are issuing. Though prescription drugs offer great benefit, they also can be manipulated and abused. Missouri was one of the first states to consider implementing a prescription drug monitoring program. Programs of these types now exist in every other state but Missouri. In other states, health officials can analyze the data and better determine if a doctor is abusing their authority to write prescriptions, a pharmacy is errant in its inventory control, or even if a patient is manipulating the system and perhaps selling or manufacturing other illicit substances. What information is public? NONE! In fact, specific safeguards are inherent in the proposal to ensure individual privacy while allowing the Department of Health and Senior Services to report illicit activity to law enforcement to better enforce Missouri law.
House Joint Resolution 48 was approved by the House of Representatives. It proposes change to our Missouri Constitution that would provide a new funding source for our Veterans' homes, cemeteries and Veterans outreach programs. If approved by the Senate and Governor and then the voters, the amendment would require the State Lottery Commission to develop and sell a Veterans Lottery ticket by July 2015. The funds raised through the sale of this would be completely dedicated to the Veterans' Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which provides funds to the seven Veterans homes currently operating in Missouri. Right now, existing homes provide service to 1,350 residents. However, the need for more homes is great, as another 1,800 veterans are on a waiting list for admission. I serve on the Appropriations Committee for Veterans Affairs and realize the guidelines limit the budget dollars needed by the Fund. So, this bill can greatly fill some of those shortfalls. By sales of a Veterans Lottery Ticket, individuals who wish to directly contribute to the Trust Fund, can do so. It will be a Choice.
I will try to keep you aware in future Capitol Reports, of other bills that reach the House Floor. You can view House Bills to be heard and or passed by logging on to House.mo.gov. With the Lord's guidance, I will also continue to work hard to represent you as a voter in the Missouri 48th House District.
Never hesitate to contact me at Dave.Muntzel@house.mo.gov or June Cardwell, my Legislative Assistant at June.Cardwell@house.mo.gov or call 573 751-0169 with your concerns or help with personal or business needs.
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