What’s Happening Report: April 1, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would ask you for healing thoughts and prayers for Rep. Rebecca Rober. She was in a car accident last week that landed her in serious condition in the hospital.

Elections are coming up this week! You can look at your sample ballot by clicking on “Sample Ballot” here:https://www.stlouisco.com/yourgovernment/ElectionBoard. Even though this isn’t a “big” election, it is important — probably more important to your life than electing who is president. Even though it gets less press, who you select for city council and school board has more effect on your day-to-day life than politicians at higher levels. And there are bond issues on your ballot that affect your pocketbook and the city you live in.

Scroll to the bottom for information on a Veterans Writing Workshop, a veteran’s day ceremony for Vietnam veterans, and a survey about career/technical education.
Last Week
Last week was frustrating! We heard a bill (HB 183) requiring Medicaid recipients to provide documentation either that they are working or that they are exempt from work requirements. The department doesn’t have the staff or the computer capacity to handle this new documentation. I’m afraid it would remove people from Medicaid. In 2018, over 50,000 children were accidentally dropped from Medicaid rolls over failure to provide documentation. I am sure something similar will happen if this passes.

We had a long day on Tuesday debating the budget. It had the rhythm of a song, with the Democrats offering amendments, a call for a vote, the Democrats vote yes, the Republicans vote no, and the bill fails. For the first time since Republicans took the majority, Democrats did not get a single amendment onto the budget. I offered two amendments: one would take unexpended federal funds and use them to have another staff member for their pregnancy-associated mortality review board (PAMR Board). This is something the Department requested in their budget requests and the position would ensure implementation of the board’s recommendations. The budget chair didn’t even know why to oppose it, but the amendment was rejected. The other amendment would have required crisis pregnancy centers that receive TANF money to offer smoking cessation literature (which they can get for free) and counseling. This was rejected as being “too burdensome” by the same people who have no problems putting roadblocks to women’s healthcare.

In Rules, we passed the Plastic Bag ban-ban and a bill that shortens the amount of time a tenant has to appeal an eviction judgment from 10 days to 5 days.

You can see the growing list of bills that have been perfected (final version is complete and ready to vote on) and third read (bills we have voted on) on the House webpage under “Legislation”.

While it is interesting to see what we have been doing, a better way to be involved in what is coming up is to track the upcoming hearings (to see what committees are working on) and Calendar (to see what is coming to the floor).

The Missouri House Democrats gave a weekly press conference — this week it will be about the budget. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8f2mIOESd4. We also did a weekly wrap-up:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TlZK7Doz_U. 

The Democrats are giving weekly press conferences on a variety of policy topics; you can see all press conferences on the MOHOUSECOMM Youtube Page athttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6ymiL-IlKewSkyoocKcuw
This Week
This will be a busy week in the House.

We are scheduled to be debating and voting on HB 581, a charter schools expansion bill.

This week, we are voting on some substantial bills in my committees.

In Children and Families, we will be voting on
HB 183 – Trent MO HEALTHNET WORK REQUIREMENTS
HB 1135 – Dinkins WAIVER OF BIRTH CERTIFICATE FEE

In Ways and Means, we will be hearing 
HB 422 – Moon 
SALES TAX REFUND FOR TAX ASSESSMENT and 
HJR 40 – Kidd TAXATION OF REAL PROPERTY and we will vote on 
HB 842 – Griffith HISTORIC BUILDINGS.