Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for Sept. 30, 2021
Senate Interim Committee Issues Report Outlining Recommendations
On Monday, Sept. 27, the Missouri Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection, which I chair, issued its first report detailing recommendations related to abortion providers and their family planning affiliates through MO HealthNet. In its report, the committee recommended several reforms designed to protect human life and ensure tax dollars are spent in accordance with Missouri values.
The committee suggested regulatory changes within the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to allow the departments to collaborate and share information uncovered during investigations of abortion facilities. In addition, the committee directed DSS to tighten up its licensure standards and consider violations of any state law or regulation when determining whether a provider is qualified and fit to be a MO HealthNet provider.
The committee also recommended changes in state law to provide DSS with the ability to consider the behavior of a MO HealthNet provider, such as Planned Parenthood, in another state as grounds for sanctions or termination if such behavior would disqualify the provider from serving as a MO HealthNet provider in Missouri. This change gives DSS the ability to weigh the totality of circumstances, including a provider’s actions outside of Missouri, when determining if an entity meets the qualifications to serve as a MO HealthNet provider.
Overall, these commonsense measures are designed to allow DHSS and DSS to work together to ensure abortion providers and their affiliates are operating in a safe manner and following state law. The committee’s next hearing will take place in the State Capitol on Thursday, Oct, 7. During this hearing, committee members will meet with officials from DSS to discuss the steps the department is taking to improve our state’s Medicaid program. Committee members will also receive updates on the progress of the department’s previous reform initiatives. While the committee’s first report focused solely on abortion providers, the second report will outline recommendations intended to increase transparency within the state’s Medicaid program, in addition to other MO HealthNet reforms.
Celebrating a Historic Milestone
On Thursday, Sept. 30, I was honored to join the governors of Missouri and Arkansas for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. For more than 25 years, officials from Arkansas, Missouri and the federal government have discussed the need for this type project. In Missouri, the project relocated the four-lane divided highway to the west of the existing US Route 71, and provided a new interchange at Route 90 west of Jane. The completed I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector stretches from Kansas City to Fort Smith, Arkansas — more than 290 miles. The newly completed highway will open to the public on Friday, Oct. 1.
Honoring D&D Sexton, Inc.
The 32nd Senatorial District is home to many outstanding businesses and manufacturers. One of those companies, D&D Sexton, Inc., recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Established in 1981 by Dean Sexton with only one truck and trailer, the company, which calls Carthage home, now employs more than 190 full-time employees and operates 130 tractors and 300 refrigerated trailers. I was honored to join them as they celebrated their 40th anniversary and presented them with a Senate resolution. From its humble beginnings, D&D Sexton, Inc., has grown into one of our country’s premier haulers of refrigerated goods. The Sexton family is the embodiment of the American Dream, and I am proud to call them members of our community.
Celebrating the YMCA
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, I was proud to join the Joplin Family YMCA and celebrate its 130th anniversary. Founded in 1891, this important organization is a dedicated and outstanding member of our community. The Joplin Y isn’t just a health and fitness club, it is an organization committed to helping every member of our community reach their full potential. I was honored to join them on this wonderful occasion for a ribbon cutting ceremony and presented them with a Senate resolution congratulating them on the past 130 years. I look forward to many more years of a wonderful partnership between the Joplin Family Y and our community.
Help Needed: Red Cross Experiencing Blood Shortage
The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency shortage of blood and platelet products. The organization’s national blood inventory is critically low for this time of year, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. To remedy this shortage, the organization needs to collect 10,000 additional blood products each week for the next month to recover and meet the expected needs of patients and hospitals throughout the country. If you are able, I encourage you to donate blood or platelets to help those in need. Below is a list of donation opportunities in our area.
- Friday, Oct. 1 – 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Joplin.
- Friday, Oct. 1 – 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion in Lockwood.
- Friday, Oct. 8 – 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Hideout Harley Davidson in Joplin.
For a complete listing of blood and platelet donation opportunities, please visit redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive and enter your zip code.
Find Your Spark
October 3-9 marks this year’s National 4-H Week. More than just an ag organization, 4-H provides young people with community, mentors and learning opportunities to develop the skills they need to create positive change in their lives and throughout their communities. Through 4-H, individuals have the opportunity to choose their own path and are guided by volunteers with similar passions. This year’s theme, “Find Your Spark,” celebrates the resiliency of young people who have brought about significant innovations in agriculture and technology. Many of the 4-H clubs here in our community are planning their own specific events to celebrate National 4-H Week. For more information about National 4-H Week here in Missouri, please visit 4h.missouri.edu.
Stay Safe and Listen to the Beeps
The National Fire Protection Association will hold its annual Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 3-9. The theme of this year’s campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” aims to educate everyone about the simple actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when it comes to fires. Below are a list of safety tips involving your smoke alarm that can help you “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”
- A continuous set of three loud beeps — beep, beep, beep — means smoke or fire. Get out, call 911 and stay out.
- A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be replaced.
- All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
- Chirping noises that continue after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced.
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet the specific needs of your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
For more information about this year’s Fire Prevention Week and fire prevention in general, please visit fpw.org.
Buy Local, Buy Missouri
Please mark your calendars for this year’s Buy Missouri Week: Oct. 9-16. For myself and my family, buying local isn’t just a tagline — it’s a conscious choice to support our fellow Missourians. Buy Missouri is an initiative created to recognize and promote Missouri businesses and manufacturers and in turn, strengthen our state’s economy. Not only do the businesses and manufacturers of our state employ countless Missourians, but they also produce hundreds of products that are made right here in the Show-Me State. Instead of shopping online and buying from out-of-state businesses, I encourage each and every one of you to shop local and buy Missouri! For more information on this initiative and how you can support Missouri businesses, please visit buymissouri.net.