Capitol Report 08/27/2015

Medicaid Task Force, Ports, & Deer Regulations
During the 2015 legislative session the House and Senate approved a state operating budget that will shift the state’s Medicaid system to one that utilizes managed care for delivery of health care services. The plan calls for the state to make the change by June 1, 2016 and also creates a task force of legislators, providers, payers and consumer groups to develop a strategy for the implementation of the change. Just a few days ago, the Speaker of the House appointed members to the task force and charged them with beginning their work on this important issue.

Also, an interim House committee recently met at the state capitol to discuss the importance of Missouri’s ports, and to look at ways to continue to support these trade hubs that play a vital role in the state’s economy. Members of the Interim Committee on Development and Improvement of Missouri Ports learned during the hearing that the state’s port system accounts for 441 direct jobs, and also has a positive economic impact on communities within a 75 mile range of each port. According to testimony from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state’s ports also represent a great investment of taxpayer dollars as every state dollar put into ports results in between $7 to $10 in private investment. The committee plans to meet again in September when members will likely suggest actions to better invest in Missouri’s waterways infrastructure and port system.

Recently, the Conservation Commission met to approve changes to next year’s deer regulations. Approved changes include shortening November and antlerless portions and expanding late youth portion. Potential changes include allowing crossbows during archery seasons and reducing antlered deer limit. Missouri’s rule-making process includes a 30-day public comment period. Comments related to the proposed regulation changes can be submitted online to the Conservation Department from Oct. 2-31 at mdc.mo.gov/node/24141. Full verbiage of the proposed amendments will be posted on the webpage after Sept. 15.

The Commission will make its final decision on these proposed changes at its December meeting. With final approval, the regulation changes would become effective in March 2016 and implemented for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons. I encourage you to contact the MDC and share your thoughts on these new regulations. Crawford County residents can contact their regional office at 636-441-4554 and Phelps County residents can contact their regional office at 417-256-7161.

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

Medicaid Task Force
During the 2015 legislative session the House and Senate approved a state operating budget that will shift the state’s Medicaid system to one that utilizes managed care for delivery of health care services. The plan calls for the state to make the change by June 1, 2016 and also creates a task force of legislators, providers, payers and consumer groups to develop a strategy for the implementation of the change. Just a few days ago, the Speaker of the House appointed members to the task force and charged them with beginning their work on this important issue.

Currently, approximately 440,000 Medicaid recipients in 53 counties and St. Louis receive their health care under a managed care model. The budget approved by the General Assembly will move another 200,000 recipients in Missouri’s remaining 61 counties into managed care plans by next year’s deadline. Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, blind and disabled are excluded from the managed care requirement.

Under a managed care system, the state pays a private company to manage the health care needs of patients. Proponents of the idea believe it will save taxpayer dollars when compared to a traditional fee-for-service model that reimburses doctors directly for the services they provide. Supporters say managed care puts a focus on preventive care to cut down on costly emergency room visits.

The task force will now begin its work to look at the logistics of transitioning Missouri’s Medicaid enrollees into managed care plans. The group also will look at other health care delivery models in an effort to determine the best path forward for Medicaid in Missouri.

Missouri Ports
An interim House committee recently met at the state capitol to discuss the importance of Missouri’s ports, and to look at ways to continue to support these trade hubs that play a vital role in the state’s economy. Members of the Interim Committee on Development and Improvement of Missouri Ports learned during the hearing that the state’s port system accounts for 441 direct jobs, and also has a positive economic impact on communities within a 75 mile range of each port. According to testimony from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state’s ports also represent a great investment of taxpayer dollars as every state dollar put into ports results in between $7 to $10 in private investment.

Despite the economic benefits of the state’s port system, committee members learned that funding for ports has been erratic. During a 10-year period from fiscal years 2004 to 2014 the system received only $11.7 million in funding, and often in inconsistent amounts. Witnesses testified that the funding issues have made it difficult to upgrade and repair the state’s waterway infrastructure.

Committee members also heard testimony regarding the overall benefits of moving goods by barge. The state transportation department’s freight and waterways administrator called the port system one of the best kept secrets in the state and noted they represent an environmentally efficient way for businesses to transport their products. Proponents of the state’s port system also pointed out that more traffic on Missouri’s waterways can alleviate the load on the state’s roads and bridges, which have seen funds for repair and improvements dwindle. The committee plans to meet again in September when members will likely suggest actions to better invest in Missouri’s waterways infrastructure and port system.

2016-2017 Deer Regulations
The Missouri Conservation Commission recently set season dates and limits for the 2016-2017 fall deer season and gave initial approval to several deer-hunting regulation changes proposed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the Commission’s Aug. 19 meeting in Jefferson City.

Approved changes to fall deer season structure for 2016-2017 include:

  • Maintain current timing of the November portion and reduce the length from 11 to 9 days.
  • Expand the late youth portion to three days beginning the first Friday after Thanksgiving.
  • Reduce the length of the antlerless portion from 12 to 3 days and begin on the first Friday in December.
  • Eliminate the urban zones portion.

Proposed regulation changes to fall deer season structure for 2016-2017 include:

  • Allow crossbows as a legal method during the archery deer and turkey seasons.
  • Allow the use of crossbows during the fall firearms turkey season.
  • Reduce the limit of antlered deer from 3 to 2 during the combined archery and firearms deer hunting season, with no more than one antlered deer taken during the firearms deer hunting season.
  • Remove the hunting method exemption requirement related to crossbows.

Missouri’s rule-making process includes a 30-day public comment period. Comments related to the proposed regulation changes can be submitted online to the Conservation Department from Oct. 2-31 at mdc.mo.gov/node/24141. Full verbiage of the proposed amendments will be posted on the webpage after Sept. 15. The Commission will make its final decision on these proposed changes at its December meeting. With final approval, the regulation changes would become effective in March 2016 and implemented for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons.

The Department is also working to simplify conservation area deer-hunting regulations by limiting methods and use of firearms and archery antlerless permits. To see the list of conservation areas with proposed changes to hunting methods and to provide comments, visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov/node/18891 from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The webpage will not be available until Sept. 1.

The Department will also continue to gather input from citizens on a variety of deer hunting-related topics, including nonresident permits and prices, through public surveys and its website in early 2016. Therefore, I encourage you to contact the MDC and share your thoughts on these new regulations. Crawford County residents can contact their regional office at 636-441-4554 and Phelps County residents can contact their regional office at 417-256-7161.

Veterans, Victim Rights, & Vulnerable Persons
HB 403 signed into law last month designates Missouri as a “Purple Heart State” to honor the state’s combat wounded veterans for their service. The bill also removes any additional fees charged for subsequent sets of Purple Heart license plates.

The House and Senate worked together to pass HB 1070 to establish the Office of Military Advocate within the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission for the purpose of advocating for the military in Missouri. The bill, which is now law, states that the office must be administered by the military advocate, who will be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The advocate will serve a term of six years and the Department of Economic Development must provide administrative support and staff as needed to support the office.

SB 141 recently signed into law will provide additional compensation to victims of crime. Current law allows the Crime Victims’ Compensation fund to pay eligible victims up to $200 each week for the loss of employment and for injury or death. The bill approved by the General Assembly will increase the reimbursement amount to $400 per week.

The House and Senate took action this year to address an oversight in Missouri law that has prevented victims of rape and sexual assault from obtaining an order of protection against their assailants. Missouri’s existing law regarding orders of protection has been limited to victims of domestic violence and stalking victims. SB 321 also expands the definition of stalking to include unwanted activity directed toward the members of the victim’s household.

HB 343 received legislative and executive approval this year and therefore will establish a committee to assess the continuation of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program. The program works to support both aging and disabled Missourians to transition from nursing facilities or habilitation centers to quality community settings. The committee will study sustainability of the program beyond the current demonstration time frame for all transitions to occur by September 30, 2018.

Finally, concluding the summation of this past session’s bills, the General Assembly approved legislation to create the Human Trafficking Task Force with the mission of raising awareness of the human trafficking problem in Missouri and providing organizations and agencies that enforce human trafficking laws and assist victims with a central place to share information. The task force is charged with reporting a summary of its activities and making any recommendations for legislation to the General Assembly by January 1, 2017.

District Visits
nuclearDuring the interim season between legislative sessions, I have been attending several meetings with local organizations and businesses and making constituent visits. This week I had a fascinating tour of ‌The Missouri S&T Reactor (MSTR) in Rolla. MSTR is integral to the education of Nuclear Engineering students by providing facilities to perform experimental research, obtain an operator’s licensed through the raining program, learning about reactor physics and other aspects of nuclear engineering. In the next few weeks I will be meeting with several more local businesses in District 120 including:

  • Steelville Manufacturing – Aug. 31st at 10 AM
  • Meramec Instrument Transformers, Cuba – Sept. 14th at 10 AM
  • Sullivan Hospital – Sept. 21st at 10 AM

If you are a local business or organization and would like me to come visit your location, please email my legislator assistant, Dylan Bryant, at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

Special Events
Discover Nature: Bow Building Class
Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Date: September 3, 5:00 PM to September 5, 2015, 5:00 PM
If you enjoy working with your hands, you will enjoy this workshop. Participants will study the history of the longbow, bow design and performance. Then you will carve your own longbow from a wooden stave using basic hand tools. Some woodworking skill is helpful. The class starts with an introductory session Thursday from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM and continues Friday and Saturday with sessions that run from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Attendance at ALL sessions is REQUIRED. This program is designed for ages 18 and up. Reservations are required. For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

Hummingbird Banding
Location: Onondaga Cave State Park Visitor Center Date: September 5, 2015 10 AM Researcher Lanny Chambers will visit Onondaga Cave State Park throughout the season to capture, band and study Missouri’s smallest flying machine, the ruby-throated hummingbird. The event is free and open to the public. Onondaga Cave State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on Highway H. For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576. For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com

Jakes Day
Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Jakes stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship. Designed for the 6 to 12 year old, this skill-building day is filled with a variety of outdoor activities. Join the NWTF members and Twin Pines staff for sessions on archery, air rifle, hunting safety, outdoor skills and fishing. Lunch will be served. Participants will have a chance in our drawings and don’t forget to pick up your goodie bag before you leave. Pre-registration is strongly advised. For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

Scout Patch Program
Location: Onondaga Cave State Park Date: September 12-13
Scout troops can participate in a two-day event at Onondaga Cave State Park sponsored by Missouri State Parks. Scouts will be introduced to the Missouri State Park and Historic Site Jr. Explorer program and all scouts completing the requirements associated with this event will receive a unique patch to add to their collection. Patch requirements include a number of interesting activities and a service project. Space is limited and reservations are required. Applications for the program can be found at http://mostateparks.com/event/62319/scout-patch-program and must be completed and signed by the scout leader. Group or individual camping is available. Some fees apply. For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576.

Facts & Figures
Each week you can find an interesting fact or figure here about Missouri!
Missouri ties with Tennessee as the most neighborly state in the union, bordered by 8 states.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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