The Capitol Report | June 29th, 2017

MORx Program Update

During the 2017 legislative session, the House Budget Committee faced a $500 million budget shortfall. As a result, committee members had to make tough choices in regard to where to make necessary cuts. It is a constitutional requirement for Missouri to pass a balanced budget. While the committee did its best to preserve vital services to Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens, there simply wasn’t enough money this fiscal year to keep every program fully intact. One program that received a cut was the MORx Prescription Drug program that serves to help seniors afford their medications by reducing drug costs by 50 percent. It is important to keep in mind that the entire MORx program was set to expire on August 28, 2017.

To keep the program alive, the legislature did pass an extension this year renewing the program until 2022. Therefore, while $12 million had to be cut and people earning between 85 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to approximately $22,000 annually, will no longer qualify, the legislature did pass a reauthorize so the program could continue for many Missourians. Currently, the program still has $11.7 million in state funding that will allow more than 142,000 seniors to continue to receive prescription drug assistance. Also, if and when the state sees enough revenues to restore funding completely, the program will once again help all the seniors who need it to afford their medications.

For those who no longer qualify for the MORx program, Rx Outreach is an alternative resource for people struggling to afford medications. Rx Outreach is a nonprofit, mail-order pharmacy that provides free and low-cost generic medications for people in need. Eligibility is based on income. People qualify with annual income of $36,180 or less for a single person, $48,720 or less for family of two, $61,260 or less for a family of three, $73,800 or less for family of four. Link to full list of medications and prices: http://rxoutreach.org/find-your-medications/ Visit http://www.RxOutreach.org or call 1-877-684-1955 for more info or to enroll.

Also, as promised, below is a brief summary of more bills the legislature has passed this regular session. More passed bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come.

HB 190 – Currently, the board of regents or board of governors of any state college or university may establish regulations to control vehicular traffic on any thoroughfare owned or maintained by the state college or university. This bill adds the board of trustees of any community college to the list of entities that may establish such regulations.

HB 292Among other provisions, this bill modifies the powers of banks and trust companies by allowing a bank or trust company to acquire or convey real property for the purpose of leasing the property to a public entity, including government buildings, municipal buildings, schools, and public hospitals.

HB 336 – Currently, life insurance companies can exclude coverage for suicide for one year after the issuance of a policy. This bill adds the exclusion to any additional riders, endorsements, or amendments added.

HB 339 – This bill provides that a time-limited demand to settle any claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or wrongful death must be in writing and sent by certified mail to the liability insurer, and it must include various material terms specified in the bill.

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

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

-Jason

 

MORx Program Update

During the 2017 legislative session, the House Budget Committee faced a $500 million budget shortfall. As a result, committee members had to make tough choices in regard to where to make necessary cuts. It is a constitutional requirement for Missouri to pass a balanced budget. While the committee did its best to preserve vital services to Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens, there simply wasn’t enough money this fiscal year to keep every program fully intact. One program that received a cut was the MORx Prescription Drug program that helps seniors afford their prescription medications. Specifically, the program serves to help seniors better afford their medications by reducing drug costs by 50 percent.

It is important to keep in mind that the entire MORx program was set to expire on August 28, 2017. To keep the program alive, the legislature did pass an extension this year renewing the program until 2022. Therefore, while $12 million had to be cut and people earning between 85 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to approximately $22,000 annually, will no longer qualify, the legislature did pass a reauthorize so the program could continue for many Missourians. Currently, the program still has $11.7 million in state funding that will allow more than 142,000 seniors to continue to receive prescription drug assistance. Also, if and when the state sees enough revenues to restore funding completely, the program will once again help all the seniors who need it to afford their medications.

Moreover, there are alternatives to getting help with important medications for those who no longer qualify for the MORx program. Rx Outreach is a resource for people struggling to afford medications. Rx Outreach is a nonprofit, mail-order pharmacy that provides free and low-cost generic medications for people in need. Over 66,000 people in all 50 states received their prescriptions from Rx Outreach last year. Headquartered in Maryland Heights, Missouri, the organization provides access to over 800 medications. Eligibility is based on income. People qualify with annual income of $36,180 or less for a single person, $48,720 or less for family of two, $61,260 or less for a family of three, $73,800 or less for family of four. Link to full list of medications and prices: http://rxoutreach.org/find-your-medications/

Visit http://www.RxOutreach.org to enroll online or call Rx Outreach at 1-877-684-1955 to enroll by phone. Once enrolled, people can easily have their prescriptions transferred to Rx Outreach to fill and mail directly to their homes. Prices for medications are listed online and are available by phone. There are no hidden charges, enrollment fees, or mailing charges.

Truly Agreed To & Finally Passed Bills

Now that both the regular and first special legislative sessions have come to an end, the legislature stands at a little over 75 bills that have been Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed (TAFP). These bills now await the Governor’s approval or veto. These TAFP bills span a variety of topics. Below is a brief summary of three TAFP’d bills. As promised, more TAFP’d bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come.

HB 190Allows community college police officers to establish regulations to control vehicular traffic on any thoroughfare owned or maintained by the college

Currently, the board of regents or board of governors of any state college or university may establish regulations to control vehicular traffic on any thoroughfare owned or maintained by the state college or university. This bill adds the board of trustees of any community college to the list of entities that may establish such regulations. The bill requires college police officers, before appointment, to satisfy the requirements of Chapter 590, RSMo, either by completing training for peace officers or by virtue of previous experience or other training.

HB 292 – Changes the laws regarding powers of banks

Among other provisions, this bill modifies provisions relating to banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions. Specifically, the bill modifies the powers of banks and trust companies by allowing a bank or trust company to acquire or convey real property for the purpose of leasing the property to a public entity, including government buildings, municipal buildings, schools, and public hospitals. The bank or trust company must lease the property only to a public entity that has sufficient resources to satisfy all rental payments as they become due. The lease agreement must provide that the public entity will become the owner of the real property and any building or facility upon the expiration of the lease. The purchase of the real estate for this purpose cannot exceed the bank’s or trust company’s lending limit.

HB 336 Provides that riders, endorsements, and amendments to life insurance policies may contain suicide exclusions or limitations

Currently, life insurance companies can exclude coverage for suicide for one year after the issuance of a policy. This bill adds the exclusion to any additional riders, endorsements, or amendments added.

HB 339 – Modifies provisions relating to tort claims

This bill provides that a time-limited demand to settle any claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or wrongful death must be in writing and sent by certified mail to the liability insurer, and it must include various material terms specified in the bill. Additional information, as provided in the bill, must accompany the demand including authorizations to allow the party to obtain records from all employers and medical care providers.

Upon receipt of a time-limited demand, a recipient may ask for clarification of the terms without it being considered a counteroffer or rejection of the demand. After acceptance of the time-limited demand, the defendant may provide payment to the claimant in the form of cash, money order, wire transfer, cashier’s check, draft or bank check, or electronic funds transfer. A claimant may require payment within a specified period of time, but cannot be less than 10 days after written acceptance of the time-limited demand. This bill does not apply to offers made within 90 days of the trial.

Missouri Disaster Survivors—FEMA/SBA

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) plays a major role in helping disaster survivors recover.

Missouri survivors of the April 28 to May 11, 2017, flooding and severe storms who live in one of the 27 Missouri counties included in the presidential disaster declaration and have applied for help with FEMA may be referred to SBA.

If survivors are contacted by SBA regarding a low-interest disaster loan application, it is important to complete and submit the application as soon as possible. This will ensure that the federal disaster recovery process continues and options are kept open. Even if survivors do not believe they need a loan, they should complete and submit the application. If SBA determines they are eligible for a loan, they are under no obligation to accept it.

Homeowners and renters who submit an SBA application and are not approved for a loan may be referred to FEMA and considered for other FEMA grants and programs that could include assistance for disaster-related car repairs, clothing, household items and other expenses. Next to insurance, SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

A homeowner may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners or renters may be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

SBA may be able to help homeowners and renters replace important personal items such as personal property – including automobiles – damaged or destroyed in the disaster. SBA also offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.

To apply for an SBA low-interest disaster loan, survivors may visit a FEMA disaster recovery center and meet with an SBA representative in person. SBA has staff at all recovery centers to help with survivors’ applications. To locate the nearest center, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, use the FEMA app for smart phones or go online to https://recovery.mo.gov/ or http://www.fema.gov/DRC.

Survivors may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. For additional details on the locations of recovery centers and the loan application process survivors may call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (or 800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Survivors may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect their property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc. SBA mitigation loan money would be in addition to the amount of the approved disaster loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of the total amount of physical damage to real property and personal property as verified by SBA. SBA approval of the mitigating measures will be required before any loan increase.

Survivors should not wait for an insurance settlement before submitting an SBA loan application. They can begin their recovery immediately with a low-interest SBA disaster loan. The loan balance will be reduced by any insurance settlement. SBA loans may be available for losses not covered by insurance or other sources. SBA can help businesses and private nonprofit organizations with up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and other business assets. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits may apply for economic injury disaster loans to help meet working capital needs such as business losses caused by the disaster.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Aug. 1, 2017.The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 2, 2018.

The Missouri disaster declaration covers eligible losses caused by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding between April 28 and May 11, 2017 in these counties: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas.

SBA’s economic injury loans are also available in counties contiguous to disaster-designated counties, even if those contiguous counties are in another state. For economic injury only in the contiguous Missouri counties of Barry, Barton, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Dent, Iron, Laclede, Lawrence, Miller, Montgomery, New Madrid, Perry, St. Charles, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wright and the City of St. Louis;

For economic injury only in the contiguous Arkansas counties of Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Craighead, Fulton, Greene, Marion, Mississippi, Randolph and Sharp; For economic injury only in the contiguous Illinois counties of Madison, Monroe and Saint Clair; For economic injury only in the contiguous Kansas counties of Cherokee and Crawford; For economic injury only in the contiguous Oklahoma counties of Delaware and Ottawa; and for economic injury only in the contiguous Tennessee counties of Dyer and Lake.

District Visits

2017teacheroftheyearnominee.jpg

Yesterday, the South Central Regional Professional Development Center honored twenty-six exemplary teachers from our region that have been nominated and have completed applications for the South Central Teacher of the Year.Two finalists were selected, and will now go one to apply for the Missouri Teacher of the Year Award. I was honored to present Emily Joseph, Heather Sturdevant, and Amy Martin with House certificates commemorating their tremendous success as educators in the 120th District.

MeramecLogoI also had the opportunity yesterday to present Nick and Carolyn Sanazaro from Meramec Instrument Transformer Co. with a House Resolution. The resolution commended the company on being chosen as a recipient of the Heroes of American Manufacturing Award—a most impressive accolade bestowed by the United States Commerce Department, National Institute of Standard and Technology, Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Congratulations!
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 415-B, 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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