Capitol Report: June 22, 2017
Posted Friday, June 23, 2017, at 9:27 AM
After several years of determination, “Old Drum” and “Jim the Wonder Dog” will finally become Missouri’s official state canines this Friday. SB 376, sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins, a bill which I handled in the House, was passed this last regular session. Governor Greitens will be in Warrensburg this Friday, June 23, to speak at Boys State being held at the University of Central Missouri. On his way, he will sign the Old Drum/Jim the Wonder Dog bill (SB 376) at the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg. All are welcome to attend the ceremony at 6 p.m., and I hope to see a large turnout from both communities!
Also, this week the legislature reconvened for a second extraordinary session to amend and strengthen a piece of legislation sent over from the Senate last week that is written to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. House members strengthened the version of the bill by adding several provisions that were originally called for by Governor Greitens but were stripped out by the Senate during floor debate. More on the second special session below.
Finally as promised, three additional TAFP’d bills are also summarized below. More TAFP’d bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come. Finally, before Veto Session in September, the governor’s actions on all bills will be reviewed.
Special Session II: House Strengthens Pro-Life Legislation (SB 5)
The members of the Missouri House came together Tuesday to amend and strengthen a piece of legislation sent over from the Senate that is intended to better ensure the health and safety of women by placing some common sense safety requirements into abortion clinic practices. House members strengthened the version of the bill that was sent over from the Senate by adding several provisions that were originally called for by Governor Greitens but were subsequently stripped out by the Senate during floor debate.
One of the provisions would allow the attorney general to prosecute violations of state abortion laws with no obligation to first inform local prosecutors. The Senate version had required notification of local prosecutors. The House also strengthened penalties for abortion clinics that do not comply with the requirements for submitting fetal tissue after an abortion.
Some of the main provisions of the bill would:
— Allow the Department of Health and Senior Services to adopt rules governing complication plans to ensure patients undergoing abortions induced by drugs or chemicals have access to safe and reliable care;
— Require an abortion facility to provide affirmative evidence that each person authorized to perform abortions is a physician currently licensed to practice in Missouri;
— Allow the health department to adopt separate rules to apply to ambulatory surgical centers and to apply to abortion facilities, and ensure any abortion facility requirement is equal to any physical requirement of an ambulatory surgical center;
— Permit the health department to make an unannounced on-site inspection of any abortion facility at least annually; and
— Require that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to a pathologist within 72 hours for examination.
The governor called the legislature in to special session to enact the stronger safety regulations because of a court ruling that struck down Missouri’s previous law that required abortion providers to abide by the same regulations imposed on ambulatory surgical centers, a lower standard. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital. These regulations do not seem to support the health of adult women. It was noted in testimony that the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has called an ambulance 58 times in the last seven years with 23 of the calls made to respond to hemorrhages as a complication of abortion. They also point out that the St. Louis facility was cited by theDepartment of Health and Senior Services more than 100 times from 2009-2016 for failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
Another provision of the bill addresses a city ordinance the governor says has turned St. Louis into an abortion sanctuary city. The St. Louis ordinance was put in place by the city to prevent employers and landlords from discriminating against women who have had an abortion, use birth control, or are pregnant. The governor says this is an attempt by local politicians to make it illegal for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians. The bill passed by the House acknowledges and protects the right of an "alternatives to abortion" agency to operate freely and engage in speech without governmental interference, and the right of a person not to be compelled by the government to participate in abortion contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions. In effect, the bill would pre-empt the St. Louis ordinance.
The legislation now moves back to the Senate where they will have the opportunity to pass the bill and send it to the governor’s desk. If the Senate refuses to take the House changes, the two bodies will likely send the bill to a conference committee where selected negotiators from both sides will come together to work toward a compromise.
Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Bills
HB 292 – Changes the laws regarding powers of banks
Among other provisions, this bill modifies provisions relating to banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions. Specifically, the bill modifies the powers of banks and trust companies by allowing a bank or trust company to acquire or convey real property for the purpose of leasing the property to a public entity, including government buildings, municipal buildings, schools, and public hospitals. The bank or trust company must lease the property only to a public entity that has sufficient resources to satisfy all rental payments as they become due. The lease agreement must provide that the public entity will become the owner of the real property and any building or facility upon the expiration of the lease. The purchase of the real estate for this purpose cannot exceed the bank's or trust company’s lending limit.
HB 336 - Provides that riders, endorsements, and amendments to life insurance policies may contain suicide exclusions or limitations
Currently, life insurance companies can exclude coverage for suicide for one year after the issuance of a policy. This bill adds the exclusion to any additional riders, endorsements, or amendments added.
HB 339 – Modifies provisions relating to tort claims
This bill provides that a time-limited demand to settle any claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or wrongful death must be in writing and sent by certified mail to the liability insurer, and it must include various material terms specified in the bill. Additional information, as provided in the bill, must accompany the demand including authorizations to allow the party to obtain records from all employers and medical care providers.
Upon receipt of a time-limited demand, a recipient may ask for clarification of the terms without it being considered a counteroffer or rejection of the demand. After acceptance of the time-limited demand, the defendant may provide payment to the claimant in the form of cash, money order, wire transfer, cashier's check, draft or bank check, or electronic funds transfer. A claimant may require payment within a specified period of time, but cannot be less than 10 days after written acceptance of the time-limited demand. This bill does not apply to offers made within 90 days of the trial.