The Capitol Report | July 27th, 2017

Second Special Session Comes to a Close

After many weeks, the Senate met Tuesday afternoon to take up and pass the House version of legislation that is meant to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. The bill now approved by both chambers is also designed to protect pregnancy resource centers from a city ordinance the governor says has made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city.

The extraordinary session to consider the pro-life bill began on June 12 with a call from Governor Greitens. The Senate passed legislation and sent it to the House, and House members quickly responded by strengthening the bill and sending it back to the other side of the building. The Senate then took several weeks off before finally bringing up the bill and passing it this week. During the time the Senate halted its activity, the governor revised his extraordinary session call to ask the legislature to pass the bill in the strengthened form approved by the House.

The bill that now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law contains several provisions to protect the health and safety of women. The stronger safety regulations are meant to address a court ruling that struck down Missouri’s previous law that required abortion providers to abide by the same regulations imposed on ambulatory surgical centers. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters say the regulations are necessary to ensure the safety and health of women using the facilities. They note that the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has had to call an ambulance 58 times in the last seven years with 23 of the calls made to respond to hemorrhages as a complication of abortion. They also point out that the St. Louis facility was cited by the Department of Health and Senior Services more than 100 times from 2009 to 2016 for failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment.

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.

SB 34 (Signed by Governor 7/6) – Creates and modifies provisions relating to criminal offenses

SB 35 (Signed by Governor 7/10) – Changes the law regarding state purchases of land

SB 43 (Signed by Governor 6/30) – Modifies the law relating to unlawful discrimination

SB 49 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) – Modifies several provisions relating to local sales taxes.

SB 50 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) – Modifies several provisions relating to health care

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

 

 

Extraordinary Session Comes to a Close as Senate Approves House Version of Pro-Life Legislation (SB 5)

After weeks of waiting, the Senate met Tuesday afternoon to take up and pass the House version of legislation that is meant to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. The bill now approved by both chambers is also designed to protect pregnancy resource centers from a city ordinance the governor says has made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city.

The extraordinary session to consider the pro-life bill began on June 12 with a call from Governor Greitens. The Senate passed legislation and sent it to the House, and House members quickly responded by strengthening the bill and sending it back to the other side of the building. The Senate then took several weeks off before finally bringing up the bill and passing it this week. During the time the Senate halted its activity, the governor revised his extraordinary session call to ask the legislature to pass the bill in the strengthened form approved by the House.

The bill that now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law contains several provisions to protect the health and safety of women. Some of the main provisions of the bill will:

  • Allow the attorney general to prosecute violations of state abortion laws with no obligation to first inform local prosecutors;
  • Require the physician who is to perform an abortion to inform the woman orally and in person of the immediate and long-term medical risks associated with the proposed method of abortion 72 hours prior to the procedure;
  • Allow the Department of Health and Senior Services to adopt rules governing complication plans to ensure patients undergoing abortions induced by drugs or chemicals have access to safe and reliable care;
  • Prevent abortion clinic staff from requesting emergency responders to alter their normal response procedure by turning off lights or sirens;
  • Require an abortion facility to provide affirmative evidence that each person authorized to perform abortions is a physician currently licensed to practice in Missouri;
  • Allow the state health department to adopt separate rules to apply to ambulatory surgical centers and to apply to abortion facilities;
  • Permit the health department to make an unannounced on-site inspection of any abortion facility at least annually;
  • Strengthen penalties for abortion clinics and hospitals that do not comply with the requirements for submitting fetal tissue after an abortion; and
  • Require that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to a pathologist within five days for examination.

The stronger safety regulations are meant to address a court ruling that struck down Missouri’s previous law that required abortion providers to abide by the same regulations imposed on ambulatory surgical centers. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters say the regulations are necessary to ensure the safety and health of women using the facilities. They note that the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has had to call an ambulance 58 times in the last seven years with 23 of the calls made to respond to hemorrhages as a complication of abortion. They also point out that the St. Louis facility was cited by the Department of Health and Senior Services more than 100 times from 2009 to 2016 for failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment.

The provision in the bill that addresses the St. Louis city ordinance will protect the rights of pregnancy resource centers. The St. Louis ordinance was put in place by the city to prevent employers and landlords from discriminating against women who have had an abortion, use birth control, or are pregnant. The governor has said the ordinance makes it so organizations like pregnancy care centers can’t work the way they’re supposed to. As the governor said, local politicians have tried to make it illegal for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians. The bill passed by legislature acknowledges and protects the right of an “alternatives to abortion” agency to operate freely and engage in speech without governmental interference, and the right of a person not to be compelled by the government to participate in abortion contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Following the passage of the bill, the governor issued a statement saying, “Today is a great victory for pregnancy care centers that help women and children all over the state. I’m proud that many of Missouri’s lawmakers stood strong to protect the lives of the innocent unborn and women’s health.”

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 a few more TAFP bills. As promised, more TAFP bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come.

SB 34 (Signed by Governor 7/6) – Creates and modifies provisions relating to criminal offenses

Under current law, if an assault in the third degree or harassment in the first degree is believed to be knowingly motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim, such violation shall be a Class E felony. This act makes such a violation a Class D felony.

The act further stipulates that if assault in the fourth degree is believed to be knowingly motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim, such violation shall be a Class E felony.

Under current law, the offense of domestic assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the person has previously been found guilty of assault of a domestic victim two or more times, in which case such offense is a Class E felony.

This act, among other provisions, provides that domestic assault in the fourth degree is a Class E felony if the person has previously been found guilty of any assault offense under state law or of any offense against a domestic victim under any local ordinance, or any state, federal, or military law which would constitute domestic assault in the fourth degree if committed in this state two or more times.

SB 35 (Signed by Governor 7/10) – Changes the law regarding state purchases of land

Under this act, when the Department of Natural Resources or the Commissioner of Administration on behalf of a state department, contracts to purchase land of 60 acres or more or with a cost of more than $250,000 in a single transaction, the respective department is required to take certain actions, including providing public notice on its website, to elected officials, and in a newspaper, holding a public hearing in affected counties, and providing public notice of the public hearing as set forth in this act.

SB 43 (Signed by Governor 6/30) – Modifies the law relating to unlawful discrimination

Prior to SB43, the court interpretation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) stood as a practice that would be unlawful when a protected class served as a contributing factor in the decision to discriminate. This is the lowest legal bar to clear. SB43 changes that standard to the motivating factor. The motivating factor is defined to mean that the employee’s protected classification actually played a role in the adverse action or decision, and played a determining influence on the adverse decision or action and the resulting damages. This is the middle ground (exclusive factor is self-explanatory). The motivation adopted in SB43 is the standard used in federal cases.

SB 49 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) – Modifies several provisions relating to local sales taxes.

This act provides that a local sales tax approved after August 28, 2017, by voters in St. Louis City or St. Louis County for the purpose of funding zoological activities and zoological facilities shall not exceed one-eighth of one percent. Also, among other provisions, this act provides that a county shall not submit to the voters a proposed sales tax under the County Sales Tax for a period of two years following the date of a election in which it previously submitted a proposed sales tax, regardless of whether the initial proposed sales tax was approved or disapproved by the voters. This act also provides that no county shall submit a proposal to the voters which would result in a combined sales tax rate adopted under the County Sales Tax Act in excess of 1%. For any sales tax adopted under the County Sales Tax Act in St. Louis County, three-eighths of such rate shall be included in the calculation of the County’s 1% cap.

SB 50 (Signed by Governor: 7/10) – Modifies several provisions relating to health care

This act modifies several provisions relating to health care, including: (1) STEMI and trauma center designations; (2) newborn screening; (3) neonatal and maternal levels of care; (4) x-ray inspections; (5) a health care directives registry; (6) hospital licensure; (7) hospital employment of dentists; (8) assistant physicians; and (9) speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Under this act, the Department shall provide rules for the designation of a trauma center and a STEMI center without site review if such hospital is certified by a national body. This act also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services (subject to appropriations in 2019) to expand current newborn screening requirements to include spinal muscular atrophy and Hunter syndrome. This act also modifies the definition of “assistant physician” to allow any medical school graduate who has met the requirements to be an assistant physician between August 28, 2014, and August 28, 2017, to be deemed to be considered meeting the requirements to be an assistant physician. In addition, this act provides that license renewal for speech-language pathologists and audiologists shall occur no less frequently than every three years. Additionally, the continued competence requirements for licensed speech-language pathologists and audiologists may include up to 30 hours triennially of continuing education, examination, self-evaluation, peer review, performance appraisal, or practical simulation.

 

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

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s