Representative Martha Stevens (D-Columbia) is leaving the House after three terms. She spoke briefly to thank her husband, family, and colleagues, and was given this sendoff by Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield).
“[The] Representative from Boone is somebody who gets so much done but does it so quietly. I think you guys would be amazed to know the amount of legislation this woman has had her hands on.”
A new law could soon have more Missourians on nutrition assistance going to farmers’ markets.
Language in House Bill 432 will bring the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) within the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program back to Missouri. This will allow those receiving WIC assistance to use vouchers at farmers markets.
Missouri previously participated in the program up until more than a decade ago.
The program will be maintained by the state Department of Agriculture, which must submit to the USDA by November an implementation plan. Stevens said it will likely be next year before WIC recipients in Missouri can get vouchers, as the program funding is grant based.
Neely said some of the things HCB 11 would change in Missouri law are “quick” or “simple” fixes that could have significant impacts, especially in situations in which foster children have been described as, “falling through the cracks.”
HCB 11 includes language that would update background checks on foster families so that the Children’s Division would know immediately if a foster parent is charged with a crime that would disqualify him or her from being a foster parent. Current law only allows checks every two years.
HCB 11 would also expand assessment and treatment services for children in foster care. It would require such services for all children in foster care – currently it is required only for those under the age of ten – and would require that those services be completed in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ periodicity schedule. Currently children are screened every two years.
The original sponsor of that language is Representative Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City), who said it would ensure that children in foster care receive more appropriate care, and the comprehensive screenings will in turn save the state money by catching medical conditions earlier and aiding in preventative care.
Current law prevents Missouri Social Services workers from investigating reports of abuse of Missouri children in foster care if the abuse doesn’t occur in Missouri, and prevents them from communicating with counterparts in other states about abuse or potential abuse. Christofanelli said his bill would remove those barriers and fix what he called a, “bureaucratic technicality.”
Some lawmakers expressed concerns with the portion of the bill because other states might release information about abuse claims – particularly unsubstantiated claims – that Missouri would not release. They expressed a desire to see that concern addressed before the bill could become law.
The House is prepared to vote on whether to send HCB 11 to the Senate. The bill is broadly supported, including by Columbia Democrat Martha Stevens, who sits on the Special Committee to Improve the Care and Well-Being of Young People.
– Allow a child who is homeless or in the custody of the Children’s Division, but the whereabouts of his or her immunization records is unknown, to be enrolled in school for up to 30 days while efforts are made to find those records, and if needed, another 30 days after that for the child to get caught up on immunizations (found in House Bill 2139 sponsored by Representative Lynn Morris, R-Nixa)
– Define when juvenile courts have jurisdiction over a child under 21, streamlining situations in which a child is in a safe situation but juvenile court involvement is interfering with the family (found in House Bill 1728 sponsored by Representative Bill Lant, R-Pineville)
A bipartisan, collaborative effort to extend Medicaid benefits for postpartum substance abuse treatment has been approved by the Missouri House.
House Bill 2280 extends MO HealthNet benefits for pregnant women who are receiving substance abuse treatment within 60 days of giving birth for up to 12 additional months. Any participating woman must follow the treatment in order to benefit.
The bill’s projected cost is more than $4-million dollars through 2021, but Haefner noted it would save the state money that would have gone to caring for children who could go to state care if their mothers aren’t afforded treatment, and other cost avoidance. She said the budget the House is debating this week also includes money to pay for the projected costs to extend this coverage.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. If it becomes law, the state will have to seek a waiver from the federal government to allow for the program to be created and implemented. Missouri would be the first state to seek such a waiver.
Haefner is hopeful the state could get an answer from the federal government by the beginning of 2019.
Missouri House Democrats say the fight against opioid abuse is about more than passing a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. They today unveiled a slate of legislation that would attack the problem by addressing a number of other issues.
Democrats continue to support passage of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program to track the use of prescription narcotics. Such legislation has advanced farther through the legislative process in each of the past few sessions, but fallen short of passage. Last year St. Louis Democrat Fred Wessels sponsored such legislation that was combined with a bill sponsored by Sikeston Republican Holly Rehder and fell just short of final passage. Both representatives will sponsor such legislation again this year.
In addition, Democrats have filed bills that would require pharmacies to post information about methods and locations for the safe disposal of unused medication; require for medical professionals with prescribing authority at least four hours of training on the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and recognizing addiction in patients; require the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to mirror federal regulations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain; require insurance coverage of medication assisted treatment and remove insurer-proposed barriers to addiction services; establish a sterile needle and syringe exchange pilot program; require the Show-Me Healthy Babies program to cover substance abuse treatment for women up to one year post-partum; and expand the use of CBD or hemp oil to include being used as a pain management alternative for those with a history of opioid abuse.
Mitten is sponsoring the bills that deal with safe disposal of abused prescription medication and additional training for prescribers.
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program. Many counties in the state are participating in a program initially launched in the St. Louis region, and Governor Eric Greitens (R) signed an executive order creating a tracking program for some prescription information handled by one benefits provider.
The legislation discussed today by House Democrats is for the 2018 legislative session, which begins January 3.