Capitol Report | March 10th, 2016

Infant Health Care & Good Samaritans

Earlier this week, I presented HB 2199 to the Elections Committee. This bill would change who is eligible to make nominating votes during a special election nomination for a vacant U.S. Congressional seat. It passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 10-0. It will now move on to the Select Committee on State and Local Government. Also, HB 2090 passed out of the Committee on Criminal and Civil Proceedings 11-0 with two amendments that will strengthen financial protections for public administrators. It will now move to the Select Judiciary Committee. Finally, HB 2093, providing immunity to first responders, was passed out of the Select Committee on State and Local Government today. It will now move to the House floor for debate.

 

The Missouri House gave approval this week to legislation meant to provide a better system of care for at-risk newborns. The bill would allow for the creation of a perinatal network in Missouri to act as a resource for physicians whose patients have high risk pregnancies or complications after birth. The goal of the network is to ensure risk-appropriate care is provided to children in need.

 

The House also gave approval to legislation meant to expand Missouri’s Good Samaritan law to allow conscientious citizens to break into a hot vehicle in order to rescue a forgotten child. Known as the “Rescue the Forgotten” bill, the legislation is similar to law already in place in other states such as Tennessee. In effect, the bill would protect individuals for damages caused while trying to rescue a child in danger.

 

March 30th is Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day! Each year a ceremony in honor of Vietnam Veterans is held at the State Capitol, where each Representative is allowed to honor one Vietnam Veteran. If you are a Vietnam Veteran or you know someone who severed in the Vietnam War, please contact me at 573-751-1688 or jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

 

MoDOT is kicking off an enhanced pothole repair initiative starting today throughout the state. Through the rest of the month of March, maintenance crews are committed to repairing a pothole with asphalt as quickly as possible of it being reported. Motorists can report the location of potholes using the following tools:

  • Call the 24/7 Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636)
  • UseReport a Road Concern form on the web at http://www.modot.org
  • Use your smart phone/tablet with a mobile friendly form at http://www.modot.org/roadconcern
  • By email to comments@modot.mo.gov

 

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

 

House Sends FY 2017 State Operating Budget to the Senate

The members of the Missouri House of Representatives spent all day Tuesday and then several more hours Thursday working on the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan are now on their way to the Senate for consideration.

During discussion on the House floor, the approximately $27.3 billion spending plan saw House members offer and adopt several amendments to move funding from one program to another.

Changes to the budget on the floor must either be revenue neutral or revenue positive. In effect, if a member wants to increase funding in one area of the budget, he or she must first reduce corresponding funds in another area. With this, the size of the budget cannot grow on the House floor.

Some of the major changes made to the budget on Tuesday include:

  • A $1 million increase to the Foundation Formula that provides state funding for K-12 public schools. The money was moved from the Facilities Management Reserve Fund.
  • An additional $55,000 for the Foundation Formula that comes from a cut to the Missouri Department of Social Services. House members made a cut of $379,000 to ensure no state dollars are used for nonemergency abortions. The majority of the funds are federal, but the $55,000 in state funds were reallocated to education.
  • A $214,000 increase to the Parents as Teachers program. The money was cut from the budget for the governor’s office.
  • An additional $50,000 to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that is designed to increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers among middle school and early high school students. The money was moved from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
  • A funding increase of $1 million for agricultural research at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. The funds, which were taken from the University of Missouri – Columbia campus, will allow Lincoln to receive matching federal land grant funding.
  • $500,000 for the creation of an Urban Education Institute at Harris-Stowe State University. The money was moved from the funding increase for the state’s institutions of higher education.
  • $750,000 for the Brain Injury Waiver to draw down federal funds to help provide care to Missourians with brain injuries who are currently on a waiting list. The money was moved from funds allocated for the Missouri Technology Corporation.
  • $300,000 in funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center to offer shop and lab training and classroom instructional opportunities to high school graduates and dislocated workers. The money was moved from funding for the Department of Natural Resources.

Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2017 state operating budget as it moves to the Senate:

  • $70.3 million increase for the Foundation Formula, which funds K-12 public schools
  • $9.4 million increase in performance funding for Missouri colleges and universities
  • $5 million increase for K-12 transportation
  • $4 million increase for the Access Missouri need-based scholarship program.
  • $2.5 million increase for the A+ Scholarship program
  • $500,000 increase the Bright Flight scholarship program
  • $1.3 million for 2015’s Dairy Revitalization Act
  • $2 million increase for river ports
  • $1.25 million increase for business startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation
  • $30 million to revive the state cost-share program to fund transportation projects
  • Increase Medicaid provider rates by three percent
  • $500,000 increase for the Alternatives to Abortion program
  • Two percent pay increase for state employees

Improving Health Care Outcomes for Infants (HB 1875)

The Missouri House gave approval this week to legislation meant to provide a better system of care for at-risk newborns. The bill would allow for the creation of a perinatal network in Missouri to act as a resource for physicians whose patients have high risk pregnancies or complications after birth. The goal of the network is to ensure risk-appropriate care is provided to children in need.

According to the March of Dimes, one in every four at-risk newborns is born at a facility that is not equipped to meet their needs. Approximately 1,100 infants are born at very low birth weight each year in Missouri, and around 1,500 infants are born very preterm. Up to 26 percent of these babies are born at facilities that do not have a NICU specially equipped for their care.

In 2011, the Missouri General Assembly approved House Bill 555 to create the Missouri Task Force on Prematurity and Infant Mortality. In December of 2013 the task force submitted its findings and recommendations to the governor and the legislature. One of the key recommendations called for regionalized perinatal care. The legislation approved by the House seeks to implement the recommendation in order to ensure high-risk pregnancies and low birth weight, preterm, or otherwise at-risk neonates receive consultation and access to risk-appropriate care.

House Approves Legislation to Allow Good Samaritans to “Rescue the Forgotten” (HB 1649)

The Missouri House gave approval to legislation meant to expand Missouri’s Good Samaritan law to allow conscientious citizens to break into a hot vehicle in order to rescue a forgotten child. Known as the “Rescue the Forgotten” bill, the legislation is similar to law already in place in other states such as Tennessee. In effect, the bill would protect individuals for damages caused while trying to rescue a child in danger.

According to KidsandCars.org, in the last 20 years more than 700 children have died from heatstroke in vehicles in the United States. MO ranks as the 13th among states for child vehicular heatstroke deaths. The sponsor of the bill said, “It’s time for Missouri to join the many other states that have made the safety and well-being of their young people a top priority. It’s common sense to empower people to do the right thing in what could be a life or death situation.”

House Members Approve Bill to Expand Services for Deaf-Blind Individuals in Missouri (HB 1696)

The members of the Missouri House gave bipartisan support this week to legislation meant to help deaf and blind Missourians live more independently. The legislation allows the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to issue grants to provide necessary services to deaf-blind individuals and their families.

Under the bill, the commission will be able to issue up to $300,000 in grants each year. The grants will be utilized for the training and certification of new support service providers, and will help offset the costs to organizations that provide support services to deaf-blind persons.

Supporters said that additional providers, who help with tasks such as getting to work or shopping, will allow more deaf-blind individuals to become independent. The bill also is meant to decrease the reliance of deaf-blind individuals on public assistance.

Vietnam Veterans Day

March 30th is Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day! Each year a ceremony in honor of Vietnam Veterans is held at the State Capitol, where each Representative is allowed to honor one Vietnam Veteran. If you are a Vietnam Veteran or you know someone who severed in the Vietnam War, please contact me at 573-751-1688 or mailto:jason.chipman@house.mo.gov

MoDOT – Pothole Repair

MoDOT is kicking off an enhanced pothole repair initiative starting today throughout the state. Through the rest of the month of March, maintenance crews are committed to repairing a pothole with asphalt as quickly as possible of it being reported. MoDOT will aggressively respond and patch potholes to keep highways smooth and safe for Missouri motorists. “We want to get asphalt in the hole as quickly as possible. If you report it in the morning, our goal is to repair it before you drive the same road the next business day,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Becky Allmeroth. “We know our aging infrastructure is prone to potholes this time of year, and we are making efforts to keep our roads as safe and smooth as possible.”

Motorists can report the location of potholes using the following tools:

  • Call our 24/7 Customer Service Center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636)
  • UseReport a Road Concern form on the web at http://www.modot.org
  • Use your smart phone/tablet with a mobile friendly form at http://www.modot.org/roadconcern
  • By email to comments@modot.mo.gov


Capitol Visits

This week I was honored to visit with the Shelton family when they were at the Capitol for Gateway Hemophilia Association Day.

It was also nice to visit with the Michel family. Chris and Crystal and their children Kate, Andrew, Tyler, and Megan came to the Capitol this week to sing for the Families for Home Education – Annual Legislative Rally.

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