Capitol Report July 27, 2017
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 4:13 PM
After several weeks, the Senate met Tuesday afternoon to take up and pass the House version of legislation what the governor has said made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city. The bill took about four hours on Tuesday before 19 senators moved the previous question motion to go to a vote. The final vote went 22-9 in favor of the House Committee Substitute. More on this later in the first section of this week’s report.
Also, as promised, five 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.
Extraordinary Session Comes to a Close as Senate Approves House Version of Pro-Life Legislation (SB 5)
After several weeks, the Senate met Tuesday afternoon to take up and pass the House version of legislation that is meant to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. The bill, now approved by both chambers, is also designed to protect pregnancy resource centers from a city ordinance the governor says has made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city.
The second extraordinary session to consider the pro-life bill began on June 12 with a call from Governor Greitens. First, the Senate passed legislation and sent it to the House, and then House members quickly responded by strengthening the bill and sending it back to the Senate for review. The Senate then took several weeks before finally bringing up the bill and passing it this week. During the time the Senate halted its activity, the governor revised his extraordinary session call to ask the legislature to pass the bill in the strengthened form approved by the House.
The new law contains several provisions to protect the health and safety of women. Some of the main provisions will:
Allow the attorney general to prosecute violations of state abortion laws with no obligation to first inform local prosecutors;
Require the physician who is to perform an abortion to inform the woman orally and in person of the immediate and long-term medical risks associated with the proposed method of abortion 72 hours prior to the procedure;
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;
Prevent abortion clinic staff from requesting emergency responders to alter their normal response procedure by turning off lights or sirens;
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 state health department to adopt separate rules to apply to ambulatory surgical centers and to apply to abortion facilities;
Permit the health department to make an unannounced on-site inspection of any abortion facility at least annually;
Strengthen penalties for abortion clinics and hospitals that do not comply with the requirements for submitting
fetal tissue after an abortion; and
Require that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to a pathologist within five days for examination.
The stronger safety regulations are meant to address 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. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters say the regulations are necessary to ensure the safety and health of women using the facilities. They note that the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has had to call 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 the Department of Health and Senior Services more than 100 times from 2009 to 2016 for failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
The provision in the bill that addresses the St. Louis city ordinance will protect the rights of pregnancy resource centers. 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 has said the ordinance makes it so organizations like pregnancy care centers can't work as intended. In other words, local politicians tried to make it illegal for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians. The bill passed by the legislature 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. The governor quickly moved to signing the bill into law.
Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Bills
SB 49 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) - Modifies several provisions relating to local sales taxes.
This act provides that a local sales tax approved after August 28, 2017, by voters in St. Louis City or St. Louis County for the purpose of funding zoological activities and zoological facilities shall not exceed one-eighth of one percent. Also, among other provisions, this act provides that a county shall not submit to the voters a proposed sales tax under the County Sales Tax for a period of two years following the date of a election in which it previously submitted a proposed sales tax, regardless of whether the initial proposed sales tax was approved or disapproved by the voters. This act also provides that no county shall submit a proposal to the voters which would result in a combined sales tax rate adopted under the County Sales Tax Act in excess of 1%. For any sales tax adopted under the County Sales Tax Act in St. Louis County, three-eighths of such rate shall be included in the calculation of the County's 1% cap.
SB 50 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) - Modifies several provisions relating to health care
This act modifies several provisions relating to health care, including: (1) STEMI and trauma center designations; (2) newborn screening; (3) neonatal and maternal levels of care; (4) x-ray inspections; (5) a health care directives registry; (6) hospital licensure; (7) hospital employment of dentists; (8) assistant physicians; and (9) speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
Under this act, the Department shall provide rules for the designation of a trauma center and a STEMI center without site review if such hospital is certified by a national body. This act also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services (subject to appropriations in 2019) to expand current newborn screening requirements to include spinal muscular atrophy and Hunter syndrome. This act also modifies the definition of "assistant physician" to allow any medical school graduate who has met the requirements to be an assistant physician between August 28, 2014, and August 28, 2017, to be deemed to be considered meeting the requirements to be an assistant physician. In addition, this act provides that license renewal for speech- language pathologists and audiologists shall occur no less frequently than every three years. Additionally, the continued competence requirements for licensed speech-language pathologists and audiologists may include up to 30 hours triennially of continuing education, examination, self-evaluation, peer review, performance appraisal, or practical simulation.
SB 52 (Signed by Governor: 7/7) - Creates several provisions relating to suicide awareness and prevention
This act requires each public institution of higher education to develop and implement a policy to advise students and staff on suicide prevention programs available on and off campus that includes, but is not limited to crisis intervention access, mental health program access, multimedia application access, student communication plans, and post intervention plans. Such policy shall also advise students, faculty, and staff of the proper procedures for identifying and addressing the needs of students exhibiting suicidal tendencies or behavior, and shall require training where appropriate.
SB 64 (Signed by Governor: 7/11) - Gives designation to certain infrastructure
This act designates memorial highways and bridges in Missouri.
SB 65 (Vetoed by Governor: 7/14) - Exempts vessels propelled by outboard jet motors and vessels not originally manufactured with adequate guards or railing from the provisions prohibiting passengers from riding in certain areas of a boat
This act exempts vessels propelled by outboard jet motors and vessels not originally manufactured with adequate guards or railing from the provisions prohibiting passengers from riding in certain areas of a boat.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.