Weblog: Capitol Report: Dec. 3, 2020 (12/3/20)

The Missouri Times reports that the Missouri Highway Patrol has expanded its state crime lab. The 8,000-square-meter expansion will be dedicated entirely to DNA testing.

Two major pieces of legislation for the next year are COVID liability and the expansion of Medicaid. The governor withdrew his extension of the current special session to include the exemption from liability for COVID contractions in certain situations. Senator Ed Emery had submitted the bill, but it got stuck on the committee. According to the Missouri Times, the protective measures included:

. . . Healthcare workers who provide the necessary care in the current state of emergency; Manufacturers who make, design and sell goods directly related to the pandemic; and premises such as schools, churches, businesses, and nonprofits. The aim was to protect these companies from being held accountable for broadcast or exposure claims on their premises or through their business operations during the pandemic. ( protections-calls-on-the-legislature to-take-into-account-during-the-regular-session / )

Emery ended his committee hearing in the hope that the legislation could be followed up during the regular session.

The other important point to consider in 2021 is of course the expansion of Medicaid. As you recall, this was passed during the August 2020 elections and now needs to be implemented by the state. I am sure that a multitude of bills will be tabled on the matter and it will most likely be the subject of disputes throughout the 2021 session. However, at some point there will be an end product.

The legislator gives the final approval for the expenditure calculation for coronavirus relief measures (HB 14)

A special session convened by Governor Mike Parson to provide nearly $ 1.3 billion in additional spending has closed. This week the Senate gave final approval for the spending bill, which began in the House. The legislation will allow access to funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which are designed to provide additional resources for responding to COVID-19.

The law, which was originally passed by parliament in November, received strong support from both parties in both houses. The largest item in the nearly $ 1.3 billion spending plan is $ 764 million for the state’s efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Other key items in the spending plan include $ 140 million for testing, tracking, reporting, and other expenses related to mitigating the virus, $ 96.8 million for child child support transfers intercepted from government stimulus payments, to custody of the money and $ 75.7 million in school feeding programs that were extended through December. Other areas of approved spending are:

· · $ 34 million to support businesses / employees participating in the Work Together Program.
· · $ 19.6 million for homelessness prevention grants.
· · Additional $ 5.1 million funding for ongoing long-term adult and child health effects caused by natural disasters in our state in 2018 and 2019.
· · $ 93 million in ongoing pharmacy expenses under the Medicaid program due to increased occupancy during the pandemic.

With the approval of the legislature, the bill now goes back into the house for the spokesperson to sign and then on the governor’s desk. A technical meeting is scheduled for Friday morning at 10 a.m. for the speaker’s signature Sinus die for the year. The passage of the bill marks the end of the work of the legislature during the special session.

The governor had called for the session to be expanded to include laws that provide liability protection for healthcare providers, manufacturers, businesses, schools, churches and non-profit organizations, among other things. While the Senate began work on the bill this week, Governor Parson asked lawmakers to have a discussion on the bill for now. The legislature will now deal with the issue of COVID-19 liability protection when the ordinary session begins in January.

It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. I will publish a Capitol Report each week to keep you updated on activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you may have are of great concern to me. I look forward to your contributions and thoughts. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas about improving our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians, please feel free to contact me. My phone number is 573-751-2204 or you can email me at [email protected]. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.

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