COVID-19 Information for the Week of April 27, 2020
|Legislative Session Update
On April 21, the governor signed House Bill 1511 & 1452 into law. This legislation allows occupational license reciprocity for military spouses relocating to Missouri with their active duty partner. The legislation will permit military spouses to receive an equivalent license in Missouri, providing that the requirements from their home state are substantially similar to, or more stringent than, Missouri’s requirements.
On April 27, the Missouri General Assembly returned to the Capitol to continue its work for the remainder of the legislative session. On its first day back, the Missouri House of Representatives perfected its version of the state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The 13 House bills that make up the budget have since been sent to the Senate. The Senate’s Appropriations Committee, of which Sen. Nasheed is a member, has begun reviewing the budget and will send it to the full Senate for consideration in the near future. The General Assembly has until May 8 to finalize the state budget, per the Missouri Constitution.
Legislative activity on the Senate floor continued this week with the passage of House Bill 1450. Senator Nasheed opposes several of the provisions included in this omnibus crime bill.
“I believe this bill threatens to undo the progress we’ve made when it comes to improving our state’s criminal justice system,” said Sen. Nasheed. “By creating new crimes and toughening penalties, this bill is bad for Missourians. It seeks to punish, rather than solve the problem of crime in our state. We should be fighting for smarter policies, not failed tough-on-crime policies like HB 1450.”
Update on Coronavirus in Missouri
On April 20, the governor announced over $47 million in additional funding restrictions to ensure a balanced budget for the current fiscal year. These restrictions include reduced funding for nine state agencies, the Office of the Attorney General and the General Assembly. Earlier in April, the governor announced his first round of budget restrictions, totaling $180 million.
Plans continue to move forward to reopen economic and social activity in the state on May 4. On April 28, the governor highlighted data supporting his “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan. According to information provided by the governor’s office, Missouri reached peak hospitalization on April 7 with 1,242 cases. As of April 25, the governor added, the total number of hospitalizations has decreased significantly in every region across the state with the exception of the St. Louis region:
More information about the “Show Me Strong Recovery Plan” and what it may mean for your business can be found here.
As of April 30:
· The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported more than 7,560 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri.
· The City of St. Louis Department of Health reported 1,145 cases in the City of St. Louis.
St. Louis City Update
The City of St. Louis, which according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has the second-highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state of Missouri, remains under a local stay at home order. This local order supersedes the state of Missouri’s reopening plan announced by the governor, slated to begin on May 4. Executive Order No. 7, the current Stay at Home order for the City of St. Louis, will remain in effect until the City’s director of health determines the threat of increased spread of COVID-19 has diminished. This means only businesses deemed essential through Executive Order No. 7 may remain open during this time. Residents are asked to report any business in violation of the order to the Citizens’ Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.
St. Louis County Update
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is asking everyone to continue to wear masks while in public. Senator Nasheed believes this simple act helps keep essential employees, like health care workers, grocery workers, custodians, transportation professionals and first responders, safe and healthy. The CDC provides directions for making two types of cloth masks, one that does not require sewing and one that does. Both can be made out of items found in your home. More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
According to the county health department, one of the most effective methods for an individual testing positive for COVID-19 to minimize the impact of COVID-19 within a household is proper isolation. This approach separates infected individuals from people who are not sick. Isolation considerations should include separating yourself from other people in your home. As much as possible, the individual should stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets. If available, they should use a separate bathroom. In addition, they should not share dishes, drinking glasses, utensils, food, towels or bedding with others.
The county health department has also provided several tips to help individuals and families deal with the stress caused by the COVID-19 virus. Those tips can be found below:
· Staying active.
· Making sure to get enough sleep and rest.
· Staying hydrated and avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol.
· Eating healthy foods.
· Setting limits on media and social media consumption.
· Getting accurate information from reputable sources.
· Reaching out to people you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness and boredom during social distancing, quarantine and isolation.
If someone is feeling overwhelmed with emotions, such as sadness, depression or anxiety, or feels like they might want to harm themselves or others, please contact one of the following:
· Call 911
· Contact Behavioral Health Response (BHR): 314-469-6644 (immediate access to a counselor or social worker, free of charge)
· Mid-Missouri Crisis Line: Text “HAND” to 839863
· Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)
· National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8225) or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
The Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security (DES) has begun implementing the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. Funded by the CARES Act, this federal program provides up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment to those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. Those eligible for the PEUC will also be eligible for an additional $600 weekly supplement through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program for qualifying weeks.
The DES is sending letters and email notices to potentially eligible individuals who have previously applied for benefits and could potentially be eligible for the PEUC program. It encourages those who have previously exhausted their regular unemployment claims to check their correspondence in UInteract at uinteract.labor.mo.gov for additional instructions. For those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, but still have an active benefit year, the DES encourages those claimants to continue to file weekly requests for payment. Potentially eligible individuals are encouraged to log into UInteract today and look under their correspondence tab for instructions on how to file for a PEUC claim.
For more information, visit labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.
Governor Appoints Circuit Judge for 16th Judicial Circuit
The governor appointed Adam L. Caine to serve as circuit judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit. He will fill the circuit judge vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable George E. Wolf. Mr. Caine, of Kansas City, currently serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Governor Grants Clemency to Dimetrious Woods
On April 22, the governor granted clemency to Dimetrious Woods. In 2007, Mr. Woods was sentenced under a statute that was later repealed by the Legislature. A circuit court ordered the repeal of the statute to be retroactively applied to Mr. Woods, thereby resulting in his release to parole supervision. However, the Missouri Supreme Court then clarified that the repeal should not have been applied to Mr. Woods. During this period of release, Sen. Nasheed believes Mr. Woods demonstrated himself to be a contributing member of society because of his actions as a business owner and father. The governor commuted the remainder of the time Mr. Woods was to spend in prison into house arrest.
For up-to-date information about the spread of the coronavirus in Missouri, please visit the Department of Health and Senior Services’ website at health.mo.gov or contact the department’s 24-hour hotline at 877-435-8411.