As we have the session mid-point, the House takes a week break and members can celebrate a long list of accomplishments that include many legislative priorities. In total, the House has sent nearly 70 bills to the Senate and the two chambers have worked together to see one bill already passed and signed into law by the governor. This report will recap the week’s activity. Next week I will concentrate on the budget, and provide an update my bills.
Bills Sent to the Senate this Week
HB 399 prohibits any third-party payer for health care services from limiting coverage or denying reimbursement for treatment for physical, cognitive, emotional, mental, or developmental disabilities in specified situations. The bill will help provide additional services for many children with developmental disabilities. Currently, children don't have enough access to therapeutically necessary services. Getting therapy early is important to these children and having access to the right kinds of therapy is so important to help them for the future.
HB 78 designates July 7 of each year as “Missouri Sliced Bread Day” and encourages citizens to participate in appropriate activities and events to commemorate the first sale of sliced bread in 1928 in Chillicothe, Mo.
HB 204 changes the laws regarding the confiscation of animals. The bill requires a speedy disposition hearing to determine if an owner is liable for animal abuse or neglect and will save money. Often animal owners forfeit their rights to the animals because they cannot pay the bond or the costs associated with the legal challenge.
HB 565 designates Nov. 9 as “Stars and Stripes Day” to commemorate Missouri’s role in the creation of the newspaper of the United States Armed Forces. The first edition of the paper was published in Bloomfield, Mo., and the town would like this recognition of its place in history.
HB 487 allows a pharmacist to dispense self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives to a patient who is 18 years old or older. The patient will need to have a prescription from a health care practitioner but it shall have no expiration date.
HB 250 allows wholesalers to employ persons 18 years of age to unload delivery vehicles and transfer liquor into retail premises with supervision.
HB 270 authorizes the Department of Agriculture to assess civil penalties for violations of provisions regarding the sale of eggs. Currently the only administrative option the department has for a violation of the laws relating to the sale of eggs is to suspend the individual’s license. This bill would allow the department to assess a civil penalty instead of suspending the license.
HB 532 authorizes the city of Portageville to levy, upon voter approval, a sales tax whose revenues are dedicated to public safety. The bill will help keep cities that pass the sales tax safer and this will help to increase wages and benefits to help retain the lower paid employees that do such an important job.
HB 523 changes the penalty provisions for knowingly violating the law relating to the no-call list. The bill creates a $2,500 to $5,000 civil penalty for the first violation, a $5,000 to $10,000 penalty upon a finding of a second violation, and a $7,500 to $15,000 penalty upon a finding of a third violation.
HB 730 creates the Electronic Monitoring Reimbursement Fund. Any person who receives a not guilty verdict from a judge or jury or is exonerated through DNA evidence on or after August 28, 2022, for all offenses he or she was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring will be reimbursed for the fee and any of his or her costs associated with the monitoring. Individuals who are awaiting trial on house arrest have to pay for electronic monitoring. The issue is that after trial for someone who has been found not guilty, the fees remain paid, though the defendant would not have had to pay for his or her time in jail if he or she were placed there instead.
HB 612 transfers the Missouri State Council on the Arts by type II transfer from the Department of Economic Development to the office of the Lieutenant Governor. The bill is part of the governor's reorganization plan. The Department of Economic Development is not as competitive and efficient as similar departments in other states because it currently has many additional functions. The goal is to reduce the size of the department from 862 persons to 177. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor strongly supports the transfer because the Missouri Council on the Arts provides many services and benefits to senior citizens and veterans.
HB 466 adds structured family caregiving as an agency-directed model to the MO HealthNet Program to ensure the availability of comprehensive and cost-effective choices for a MO HealthNet participant who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related disorder to live at home in the community of his or her choice and to receive support from a caregiver of his or her choice. The bill will provide a significant savings in keeping patients out of Medicaid beds and giving them their preferred option of being cared for at home, by a family member.
HB 470 establishes the “Expanded Workforce Access Act of 2019.” Beginning January 1, 2020, licensing authorities are required to grant a license to any applicant that has completed the 8th grade, completed a federally-approved apprenticeship program, and passed any necessary examination. The goal of the bill is to expand alternative paths to licensure through apprenticeship programs and reduce barriers to professional licensing.
HB 757 changes provisions relating to mortgage loan originators to align with federal requirements.
HB 926 allows use of specified motor vehicle dealer license plates on cars used by customers while their vehicles are being serviced or repaired by the motor vehicle dealer. The bill will help Missouri businesses compete.
HB 410 changes the laws regarding physical therapists so that physical therapists no longer need a prescription or referral from a doctor in order to treat a patient. The bill cuts unnecessary time and cost for patients by allowing a patient to go directly to a physical therapist without needing a referral first. Allowing more access to physical therapy will help reduce the need for opioid medication to treat pain.
HB 499 allows the Director of the Department of Revenue to order the revocation of a driver's license upon notification by the investigative officer that the license holder was involved in a physical accident involving a highway worker within a designated construction zone or work zone. The bill is necessary to prevent situations where dangerous drivers remain licensed to drive for years at a time because of faulty testing procedures or other issues with the current suspension and revocation process. The bill provides for due process and immediate reinstatement of a license upon passage of the driving test and only requires revocation upon a serious accident in a properly marked work zone where an investigation determines that the driver is likely to have violated traffic rules.
HB 564 establishes the “Fresh Start Act of 2019.” A person cannot be disqualified from licensure for any occupation solely or in part because of a prior conviction of a crime, unless the criminal conviction directly relates to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation.
HB 547 requires each circuit court to establish a treatment court division before Aug. 28, 2021, and preference will be given to combat veterans.
HB 646 modifies provisions relating to sheltered workshops. The bill clarifies the dollar amount that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pays to sheltered workshops for the work being completed by a handicapped worker so that moneys payable can be pro-rated based on the amount of time such person worked.
HB 829 requires the costs of any litigation arising under Article XIV Medical Cannabis of the Constitution of Missouri to be paid out from the Department of Health and Senior Services’ portion of the funds collected on sales of medical marijuana. The bill will help to offset the cost of litigation arising from medical cannabis legalization using funds derived from the licensing and regulatory process for cannabis.