Capitol Report: May 7, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about our high maternal mortality rate in Missouri. Maternal mortality refers to women who die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country, and Missouri ranks 42nd in the country (with 1 being the lowest rate). This week, I had the opportunity to have the House debate on the floor my bill to establish a maternal mortality review board. After a good amount of debate, it was voted down 49-78. I was disappointed to see it die this year, but am hoping to see it move forward next year.

In this issue:

  • Governor Update
  • House Happenings
  • Capitol Construction
  • In the Community
  • Announcements
  • Events

Governor Update

This was a new week, with new movement on the Greitens case. The House Special Committee released a second report, which detailed information about the governor’s alleged campaign finance violations. They continue to investigate the governor. The House and Senate both had more than 75% of their members sign on to an unprecedented call to have the Legislature be called into special session after we adjourn as the Constitution requires. This special session will be for the sole purpose of evaluating the committee’s investigative reports and considering whether to discipline the governor.

House Happenings

The only thing that the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass each year is the state budget. The budget is nearing its final stages, and I expect it will be voted out by both the House and Senate by the constitutional deadline, which is Friday, May 11. One point of contention between the House and the Senate was the school funding formula, which the House budget chair wanted to fully fund but the Senate budget chair wanted to take some of the formula money to use for other things, such as transportation.

The House of Representatives voted 111-35 on April 30 in favor of legislation that would prohibit the state and local governments from awarding contracts to businesses that refuse to the do business with Israel. A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a similar Kansas law for violating the free speech rights of those seeking government contracts.

The Missouri measure and proposals like it in other states are in response to a movement that promotes boycotts of Israeli businesses and products to put financial pressure on the country’s government to change its policies toward Palestinians. Supporters of House Bill 2179 say it would demonstrate support for an important trading partner. Opponents say a law purporting to authorize the government to impose its political opinions on private businesses seeking public contracts would be unconstitutional. The bill was sent to the Senate, where it remains pending in committee.

The House of Representatives voted 112-44 on May 1 to send legislation to the Senate that would allow marijuana to be legally used for limited medical purposes. House Bill 1554 would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana only to terminally ill patients and those suffering from certain debilitating diseases.

If HB 1554 fails to win final passage before the legislative session ends on May 18, medical marijuana still has a chance of becoming legal this year since three separate initiative petitions are being circulated to put the issue on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot.

As of this writing, the Missouri House and Senate have agreed and passed 34 bills. 2 of these have been sent to the Governor for signature.

Capitol Construction

The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. The streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. In case you’re wondering what it will look like, here is an artist rendering. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

In the Community

I am currently scheduling meetings in June to talk with constituents about the voting process and how to be involved with your government. If you would like to schedule a time for me to meet with you and your neighbors, please let me know by responding to this e-mail!

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job!

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

 


 

Committees

The committees I am on are:

Announcements

 

Children are looking for Forever Families

One of the priorities of the legislature this year has been legislation to help foster children. We have a crisis number of foster children in Missouri, and it has been rising due to the Opioid epidemic. If you would like to open your home to a child, you can find information about becoming an adoptive parent online at https://dss.mo.gov/cd/adoption/.

Donate Blood!

The Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donations. Platelet and type O negative and B negative blood donations – in particular – are critically needed right now. Hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.
The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives.
Eligible individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

Legal Help

The Missouri Bar has launched a new website, https://missouri.freelegalanswers.org/. This website will provide some legal answers for low-income people from trained lawyers, and also has resources for other legal assistance for people who need it. It is a resource for people who need legal help but cannot afford it.

Events

I will share events here that I am asked to share with my constituents.