What’s Happening Report: April 29, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about Medicaid. Over 70,000 people, most of them children, were kicked off the Medicaid rolls last year, and the Post Dispatch reports that much of that was because the renewal process was not automated. The article quotes Joel Ferber of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri as saying:

“They only lost coverage because their parents were unable to get over the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. We have had children unable to get their asthma medication, unable to be treated for ringworm and kept out of school, unable to receive their psychiatric medication, unable to receive physical therapy.”

It is unacceptable that children in Missouri lose lifesaving medications, lose time in school, or lack essential therapy because of the state’s incompetence.

I am on the Joint Committee for Public Assistance. I am working to get that committee to meet to discuss these problems with Medicaid, as well as discuss changes that are being proposed to Medicaid and other public assistance programs.

As the Webster-Kirkwood Times reported this week, I have received a number of complaints about MSD that I am looking into.

We are in the last part of session. With only 3 weeks left of session, things should be moving quickly. This week, the House third read and passed 12 bills. As of today, 201 bills have been third read and passed by the House, and 10 have been passed by both houses. 3 bills have been signed by the Governor. We will be hearing a lot more bills as May 17th approaches.
Scroll to the bottom for information on a the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration on May 4 and upcoming St. Louis Area fishing festivals, as well as several public appearances I will be making after session ends.
Last Week

We had a short week this week following a holiday for Easter Monday. In the House, we spent quite a bit of time debatingHCS HJR 48, 46 & 47, which rolls back the redistricting provision of the Clean Missouri bill. Clean Missouri received 72% approval in District 91 last November. I strongly disagree with changing what voters have put in place. The HJR would go to a public vote, but it is my opinion that voters should not have to vote a second time on a provision that the legislature disagrees with. That’s not how Democracy works.

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).

Democrats and Republicans are giving press conferences on a variety of policy topics; you can see all press conferences on the MOHOUSECOMM Youtube Page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6ymiL-IlKewSkyoocKcuw
Vietnam Veterans
We had a lovely and well-attended Vietnam Veterans celebration last Thursday, honoring those who served during the Vietnam War.
This Week
We are still scheduled to be debating and voting on HB 581, a charter schools expansion bill.

We are scheduled to debate Medicaid Work Requirements, which turns a program that is designed to make people healthy so they can be productive into a requirement that people be productive before they can get healthcare.

I have been asked about HB 864, which would change teacher pensions. This bill has not yet been assigned to a committee, and I do not expect the bill to pass this year. I oppose this bill.

This week, we are voting on some substantial bills in my committees.
As of this writing, Children and Families does not have a committee meeting scheduled this week.

Ways and Means will be re-voting on
*SB 87 – Wallingford (related to funding pancreatic cancer research)
*SCS SB 174 – Crawford (reducing taxes on interest income)

Both of these bills passed in the committee last week, and we will re-consider the vote.
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with properdocumentationYou can go to the DMV and request a replacement for your current license with the Real ID at no charge. If you renew your license at the time of the request you will be charged the renewal fee. You need a RealID compliant Identification Card to board an airplane and enter federal buildings; Missouri issued Identification Cards (including drivers’ licenses) will be accepted in lieu of RealID until October 1, 2020.
I-44 Update
MoDOT I-44 project near Shrewsbury now to be complete by fall 
ST. LOUIS – After finalizing an agreement with the contractor, MoDOT has an updated schedule to complete the work on eastbound and westbound I-44 over the BNSF railroad near Shrewsbury.

According to the latest contractual agreement with the contractor, all lanes will be in their final configuration by mid-July, with all work on the project completed before September 1. This includes completing the eastbound bridge, repairs on the westbound bridge, and the new driving surface on I-44 in the area near Shrewsbury.

As part of the agreement, the contractor has covered the costs of all additional design and construction, and will pay MoDOT more than $500,000 to cover the cost of the in-depth analysis and damages for the delay.

The construction on the project was delayed in November 2018 due to a concern with greater than usual cracking on the westbound I-44 bridge in the area. After hiring a third party to analyze the situation, the department determined that the bridge, as designed, was not able to appropriately handle the thermal expansion forces – the forces when bridges expand and contract due to heating and cooling. Since the report was issued, the contractor team updated designs for the eastbound bridge, restarted construction on the project and designed repairs for the westbound bridge.“Through this all, the contractor has been working very hard to remedy the situation, and get this road back open to traffic while meeting the standards that Missouri taxpayers expect of work on their roadways. We appreciate the patience of the residents near the project and the daily commuters on I-44 as we worked through the process to ensure that this was fixed, and fixed correctly,” said said Tom Blair, MoDOT St. Louis District Engineer.
Capitol Construction
The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. Many streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. The Capitol Dome is also closed. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Please stop by my office if you are in Jefferson City. If you have an issue to talk with me about, it is best to make an appointment through my assistant, Nancy, at 573-751-1285.

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!