What’s Happening Report: September 13, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about our Special and Veto sessions last week.

The Legislature met last week, as scheduled, for veto session, to discuss the six bills Gov. Parson vetoed last spring. While we discussed the bills, none of the vetoes were overturned.

We also met last week for a special session, to discuss a sales tax break on car trade-ins. This is an obscure topic that would barely garner notice in a regular session–I didn’t remember the bill at all from when it was introduced and passed during the 2017 session. But because it was the subject of a special session, it had increased scrutiny. Although the sponsor talked about how the bill would help individuals, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Enterprise will also benefit from this bill. It is likely that other companies will benefit from this as well. We don’t know how much this bill will cost, or how many people or corporations will take advantage of it.

Last week, we also lost more children to gun violence in St. Louis. This is a crisis we need to address, but the Governor refused to expand the call of the special session to include gun violence. Instead, we will begin talking about it in January during next year’s session. The session will end in May and I am not optimistic about the chances of anything happening to actually reduce gun violence.

There was a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health Care Reform that I went to on Wednesday morning. The most frightening thing I heard at that hearing was testimony by the Business Health Coalition that if nothing is done about health care costs, the entire take-home paycheck of the average family will be consumed by health care spending as soon as 2033.

Finally, on Thursday, the House Democrats held an informal hearing about drops to Medicaid coverage. The testimony was sobering as people talked about errors in the computer system leading to these drops, difficulties with paperwork, and other problems leading to over 100,000 children being dropped from Medicaid over the past 18 months. One witness gave newinformation that state workers are afraid to speak up in favor of Medicaid patients when told to take adverse action against them, because of a 2018 law that eliminated the merit pay system in state government. Another witness talked about how people he knows are not re-applying for Medicaid because they have given up, it is just “another thing that has happened to them” in their very difficult lives.

In all of the hubbub, I barely took a moment to commemorate the victims and heroes of 9/11. But now that I am home, I am taking a moment to watch aconcert of Come from Away and, once again, mourning all that was lost on that day.

In other news …
I hope to see you on Wednesday, September 25 at Starbuck’s in Crestwood at 9:30 for open office hours!

I have begun receiving reports of Medicaid denying mental and behavioral health services. This is concerning and something I want to look into.

We are preparing for Make a Difference Day in Shrewsbury/Webster Groves on October 26. This is a day of good deeds, when neighbors are encouraged to volunteer to help their neighborhood. Make a Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday in October. If you are interested in being a sponsor for this year’s event or in participating, please e-mail me.
Each year, the Governor’s Council on Disability distributes a Legislative Priorities Poll to assist in understanding issues important to Missourians with disabilities and those who work and live with them.Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QNRSVQ2. It is open until November 7. I look at the results of the survey every year!
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with properdocumentationYou can go to the DMV and request a replacement for yourcurrent license with the Real ID for a $5 processing fee. If you renew yourlicense 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. For more information about RealID, go to dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-information/.
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!