Capitol Report 02/26/2015

 Remembering State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich
Today is a very sad day for many here at the Capitol and across the state. It has been announced by the auditor’s office that Missouri State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich passed away today. Please keep Auditor Schweich’s family uplifted in prayer as they traverse this very difficult time.

In other news, my colleagues and I took action this week to continue a program that has helped nearly 200 small businesses here in Missouri. The Big Government Get Off My Back Act has been in effect for several years now and has bolstered small business growth by providing a tax deduction to small employers who create good-paying jobs.

The House engaged in spirited debate this week as we considered a bill to put a prescription drug monitoring program in place. Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have such a system in place already, and advocates for the issue say it is time to change that distinction.

The House also approved legislation this week designed to improve the safety at Missouri’s only clinic that provides abortions. The bill was filed by one of my colleagues who was concerned by a recent inspect that found multiple violations. While those issues were corrected, the concern is that the facility is not inspected frequently enough to ensure it is maintaining adequate health standards.

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

-Jason Chipman

Big Government My colleagues and I took action this week to continue a program that has helped nearly 200 small businesses here in Missouri. The Big Government Get Off My Back Act has been in effect for several years now and has bolstered small business growth by providing a tax deduction to small employers who create good-paying jobs.

Specifically, the bill allows a $10,000 tax deduction for each full-time job a business with fewer than 50 employees creates that matches the county’s average wage. The act doubles the deduction for employers who offer new employee health insurance and pay at least 50 percent of the premiums. The provisions of the bill previously applied through 2014, but with the passage of HB 32 we would extend them through the 2019 tax year.

The bill now moves to the Senate where we hope our counterparts will take quick action to approve this measure that will help the many small employers who represent such a vital part of our state’s economic engine.

Prescription Drugs The House engaged in spirited debate this week as we considered a bill to put a prescription drug monitoring program in place. Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have such a system in place already, and advocates for the issue say it is time to change that distinction.

The goal with the database is to provide doctors and pharmacies with a powerful tool to prevent the abuse of prescription medications, and to protect patients from having conflicting medications prescribed by the various physicians they may see. During discussion on the floor, one of my colleagues described how her sister passed away from an overdose that was the result of conflicting medications. It was a powerful and emotional reminder that such a program has the potential to save lives.

Those of my colleagues who took issue with the idea focused their comments solely on the need to protect the private information of Missouri citizens. They pointed to database breaches that have occurred with major companies as examples of cautionary tales for what could happen if Missouri has a central information storage bank for patients.

Despite some of the concerns raised, we approved the proposal and sent it to the Senate. We will now wait to see if the measure can gain traction in the other chamber. In past years similar measures have died in the Senate.

Abortion The House also approved legislation this week designed to improve the safety at Missouri’s only clinic that provides abortions. The bill was filed by one of my colleagues who was concerned by a recent inspect that found multiple violations. While those issues were corrected, the concern is that the facility is not inspected frequently enough to ensure it is maintaining adequate health standards.

The bill we passed this week simply says the facility must be inspected no less than once per year. Currently, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is required to inspect ambulatory surgical centers only as it deems necessary. By requiring at least an annual inspection we hope to better protect the health and well-being of the women who use the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis.

WLM Scholarship Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women set to graduate from high school to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects one student from each of Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the award. Members hope to spread the word about the scholarship opportunity so that female students from all parts of the state will apply.

“This is a great opportunity for any young woman who is interested in continuing her educational career to receive some valuable financial assistance.” said Representative Chipman.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus created the senior scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students on the basis of leadership, academics and community service. Candidates must fill out an application and are required to submit a 500-word essay answering the question, “If you were a state legislator, what would you hope to accomplish and why?”

A link to download the scholarship is located at http://house.mo.gov/downloads/wlsa2015.docx

Applications must be mailed to:

Representative Patricia Pike Missouri State Capitol 201 West Capitol Ave. Jefferson City, Missouri  65101

Applications also can be submitted via email to patricia.pike@house.mo.gov with the subject WLM Essay Contest. The submission deadline is Thursday, March 19, 2015.

The group will select recipients and then a hold a reception in their honor on Monday, April 27 at the State Capitol. Following the reception, the scholarships will be presented to the recipients in the Missouri House Chamber.

For further information, contact 573-751-5388.

Co-Sponsorship I am proud to have co-sponsored several bills of my colleagues that I believe will move our great state in the right direction. One bill in particular I want to mention this week is HB 113 sponsored by Rep. Kidd. This bill establishes Simon’s Law that changes the laws regarding life-sustaining treatment policies of health care facilities. A health care facility, nursing home, or physician must disclose in writing any policies relating to a patient or resident or the services that a patient or resident may receive involving life-sustaining or non-beneficial treatment within the health care facility or agency upon the request of a patient or resident or a prospective patient or resident.

Constituent Visits I was honored to receive visits this week from several constituents of the 120th District. Pictured below is Mr. Jim Barnett III, Vice-President of the People’s Bank and Mr. Bill Lloyd of The Callaway Bank. 022115-0643 (2)

I also enjoyed conversing with Ms. Kathy Oliver, Phelps County Public Administrator, who was at the Capitol for MAPA 2015 Lobby Day. Kathy and I are pictured standing in front of the dais in the House Chamber.

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Mizzou Visits the Capitol I was excited to visit with Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel and Chancellor Loftin (AKA Bowtieger) as they showed off the Citrus Bowl trophy at the Capitol this week.
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District Events March 12th 6 PM– Lincoln Days at the Recklein Auditorium in Cuba, MO.

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