|Week of April 19, 2021|
This week, the Senate’s Appropriations Committee completed its work on the state’s operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This is my first year serving on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, however, I have experience working with the budget during my time in the Missouri House of Representatives. With this experience, I spent hours with my fellow committee members reviewing the budget line-by-line and making decisions on funding a wide range of state government services and resources.
As the committee discussed the proposed budget, one of the most significant decisions it made was regarding MO HealthNet, our state’s Medicaid program. In 2020, Missourians voted to expand MO HealthNet to anyone with an income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. By allowing more people to be covered under MO HealthNet, the program needs additional financial support. The budget bills sent over from the House did not include funding for the voter-approved expansion of Medicaid, and sadly, the budget approved by the Appropriations Committee does not either. An attempt to restore part of the funding needed for expansion was made late Wednesday evening, but it failed by a 7-7 vote in committee.
It is important to note the budget is not set in stone yet. The full Senate must approve its version of the budget, and any differences between the House and Senate versions must be worked out. The deadline, as established by our state constitution, to pass appropriations bills out of the Legislature is May 7. Until then, I know that I, as well as several of my Senate colleagues, will continue to push for the funding needed to expand Medicaid in our state.
Relating to Medicaid funding, the Senate returned to the issue of Senate Bill 1 this week. This legislation seeks to extend the sunset on Missouri’s federal reimbursement allowances (FRA) program before it expires later this year. The FRA is an important funding mechanism for MO HealthNet and allows the state to draw down federal dollars to support the program. While Senate Bill 1 originally just extended the FRA program, several proposed amendments have complicated its legislative future.
Earlier in session, an amendment was successfully added to Senate Bill 1 preventing MO HealthNet from covering certain family planning drugs and devices. This raised concerns that the bill could take Missouri out of compliance with federal regulations and ultimately jeopardize federal funding for MO HealthNet. This week, it seemed that a compromise was reached with the addition of new language allowing the FRA extension to remain in effect, even if the amendment’s ban was found to be invalid. Just as this compromise was reached, however, a new amendment came forward to further complicate issues. This second amendment essentially prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving any funding through MO HealthNet. After the amendment was proposed, Senate Bill 1 was laid over for future debate.
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 www.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|
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