|Week of April 26, 2021|
This week, over a dozen appropriations bills were voted on by the Missouri Senate as it finalized its version of the state’s operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. While the Senate’s proposed budget funds a full range of important state services, perhaps what is most significant about this year’s budget is what it does not fund: Medicaid expansion.
In August 2020, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid coverage for adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. With this expansion set to occur in July of this year, additional resources are needed to support the program. Earlier this session, the Missouri House of Representatives as well as the Senate’s Appropriations Committee rejected calls to provide additional funding for Medicaid. On Wednesday, April 28, as the budget came before the full Senate, several of my colleagues and I made one last push to include funding for Medicaid expansion and ensure eligible Missourians have access to the health care guaranteed to them through our state constitution. Unfortunately, the Senate rejected this proposal with a vote of 14-20.
Now that the Senate has finalized its version of the state’s operating budget, many of the appropriations bills will now head to conference committees in order for lawmakers to work through any differences between the House and Senate versions. While legislative action on funding Medicaid expansion is likely over for this session, I do not believe all hope is lost. Ultimately, I believe this matter will be settled in the courts.
While the result on Medicaid expansion is incredibly disappointing, there is some good news in the Senate’s budget regarding unemployment overpayments. For several months now, my office has been hearing from constituents who received unemployment payments during the pandemic, only to be later told they were overpaid and that they are now required to pay the money back. For many Missourians though, this is just not possible. Most Missourians who were unemployed for months during the pandemic simply do not have the means to pay back thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits they applied for in good faith and used to weather the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the realities of this situation, the Senate’s budget includes $48 million from federal stimulus funds to cover the state’s share of the overpayments. Other legislation is currently working its way through the Senate which would waive the collection of the federal portion of the overpayments. I am hopeful we can pass this legislation and bring some reassurance to Missourians who honestly collected unemployment.
Each week I will provide updates on COVID-19 information. As of April 9, all adult Missouri residents are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of occupation. Please contact your local pharmacy or health care provider for information on how best to receive one of the available vaccines. For more information about Missouri’s vaccine distribution plan, please visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.
Vaccinations are already underway in our community. For instance, COVID-19 vaccine walk-in appointments are now available at Truman Medical Centers’ two hospital campuses (2211 Charlotte and 7900 Lee’s Summit Road), 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition, you can schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting the hospital’s website or by calling 816-404-CARE.
The Jackson County Health Department also has same-day appointments available. See jacohd.org/events. For COVID-19 testing locations, please visit jacksongov.org/1190/COVID-19-Test-Sites. Pre-Registration is strongly encouraged. In addition, those who are symptomatic are encouraged to call 404-CARE, option 2, to schedule a drive through test at one of Truman Medical Centers’ two hospitals.
Additionally, Spalittos’ Pharmacy located at 3801 Independence Ave., Kansas City, MO 64124, is also providing COVID-19 vaccinations. Currently, Spalittos’ Pharmacy has vaccine appointments throughout the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. There are specific times reserved for vaccine appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. To register for a COVID-19 Vaccine, call 816-231-4717 or visit the pharmacy’s website.
Thank you for your vote of confidence to serve the people of the 9th District in the Missouri Senate. In an effort to keep you up-to-date with my legislation or other proposed legislation, please feel free to visit my website at senate.mo.gov/Washington. I appreciate your active interest in your community and encourage your participation in the legislative process. Should you need assistance with state matters, please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-3158.
|Senate Bill 82||Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert||Voted Do Pass by Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 83||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Second read and referred to Senate Education Committee|
|Senate Bill 84||Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes||Hearing Conducted in Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 145||Creates new provisions of law relating to discriminatory practices||Voted Do Pass by Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 146||Modifies provisions relating to landlord- tenant actions||Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 147||Modifies provisions relating to tax increment financing||Second read and referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 189||Creates a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum special license plate||Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed|
|Senate Bill 190||Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 191||Creates new provisions relating to the counting of inmates for the purpose of redistricting||Second read and referred to Select Committee on Redistricting|
|Senate Bill 357||Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters||Hearing Conducted by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee|
|Senate Bill 419||Relating to use of force by law enforcement officers||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 420||Relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies||Second read and referred to Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee|
|Senate Bill 434||Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media||Senate Informal Calendar for Senate Bills for Perfection|
|Senate Bill 440||Modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention||Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 441||Establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force||Voted Do Pass by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee|
|Senate Bill 446||Modifies provisions relating to the certification of juveniles for trial as an adult||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 509||Creates and modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records.||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 542||Creates new provisions relating to the recovery of employment security benefits.||Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 543||Establishes standards for demographic data collection by certain entities.||Second read and referred to Senate Health and Pensions Committee|
|Senate Joint Resolution 17||Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties||Second read and referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee|
# # #