What’s Happening Report: June 3, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services using administrative decisions to circumvent the rules.

No, this isn’t about DHSS digging into women’s health records at Planned Parenthood–this is about the Department hiding information. Two years ago, we passed SB 50, an omnibus healthcare bill which (among other things) establishes levels of maternal care at Missouri hospitals. The goal for this bill was to make it easier for women to choose a hospital. However, the Department has told me that this information will not be released in a way that identifies individual hospitals.

What is the point of making hospitals do paperwork to identify maternal levels of care if the public doesn’t even get to see this information? I am currently working out what I can do to get the Department to share this information.

This week, I will be hosting a town hall with Doug Beck at the Affton Elks Lodge at 6330 Heege Rd. That will be at 5:30 on Wednesday June 5. I hope you will be able to come!

I will do a more thorough wrap-up of session later this month.
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 for a $5 processing fee. 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.
MODot Update: Missouri travelers should use caution, heed closure signs, during flooding JEFFERSON CITY — Moving barricades or driving over flooded roads could be deadly. With flooding impacting roads and bridges across the state, the Missouri Department of Transportation wants to remind travelers to pay attention to all posted signs.

“The phrase ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ is the best advice we can give drivers,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety officer and maintenance engineer. “With major rivers rising and flash flooding covering routes throughout the state, motorists need to check the Traveler Information Map before heading out.”

Travelers should heed barricades barring travel across flooded roads. Several water rescues have already occurred across the state. Almost all of them could have been avoided if the driver had not attempted to cross a flooded route.

“I’m always flabbergasted to learn someone has driven around — or even moved — a barricade to get across a flooded route,” Allmeroth said. “They are literally putting their lives, and the lives of their passengers, in jeopardy. It’s not only dangerous, it’s illegal.”During flooding the road may have collapsed under the water. Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires and chemicals.

According to the National Weather Service, it takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away almost any vehicle. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters. Downed power lines, hidden debris or one false step can lead to injury or even death.

With more rain forecast across the state for the next few days, MoDOT advises all travelers check the Traveler Information Map before heading out, even if your current location appears not to be affected by flooding. You can also call 1-888-275-6636 (Ask MoDOT) to talk to a MoDOT customer service representative 24-hours a day. For more information, call MoDOT at 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) or visit www.modot.org. To receive the latest statewide news and text alerts, signup for e-updates.
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.
Even though I will not be in Jefferson City regularly, you are welcome to stop by my office if you are there. 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!
Sarah