The Capitol Report | October 5th, 2017

Budget Committee Reviews PDMP Executive Order

This past July, Governor Grietens established a new prescription drug monitoring program by executive order. Recently, the House Budget Committee met to examine the methods used by the executive branch to create the new program. The hearing resulted in several members taking issue with the way the program was created.

The program the governor created includes a $250,000 no-bid contract with Express Scripts, under which that company provides data to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The Department uses that data to try to identify prescription drug abusers.

Legislators on the budget committee are frustrated that the administration created and found a way to pay for that program without their input or approval. One member of the committee noted that it looks bad for the new program to have been announced at a time when the governor has withheld money from other state programs, and after the legislature refused to fund many things saying the state is in a tight budget year.

The Office of Administration’s budget director told legislators the money came from additional federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that the state had not anticipated it would get.He said the administration was free to use that money as it saw fit, and used it to address what it sees as a crisis: prescription drug abuse.

Another member of the House Budget Committee pointed out that the administration circumvented the legislature’s authority and used money that could have supported other state needs, including some the legislature voted to pay for but then later saw the governor withhold the funding.

Criticism came from both supporters and opponents of prescription drug monitoring with those on both sides saying their problem was not with the program the governor launched, but with how he launched it. The House Budget Committee Chairman suggested the administration should not move forward with its drug monitoring program, and to instead bring it as a proposal to the legislature during the next budget process. urged administration officials to halt the transfer of that CHIP money to pay for the program, and to not sign a contract with Express Scripts. He called the use of that money, without the legislature’s approval, a “breach of trust.”

In other news, I was honored last week to be a part of an inspiring event for the students of the Steelville School District. Local pastors Jerry Beers and Kevin Farr partnered with Convoy of Hope, a non-profit organization from Springfield.

Steelville School District Free Shoes Using their program called Rural Compassion, every student in Steelville was provided with a free pair of shoes. Thank you to all those who donated their time to providing our area children with wonderful gifts. Also, thank you to the Steelville administrators for inviting me to be a part of it.

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

 

House Budget Committee Members Review the Methods Used to Create a New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

The House Budget Committee met recently to examine the methods used by the executive branch to create a new prescription drug monitoring program. The hearing resulted in several members taking issue with the way the program was created.

The governor created the program with an executive order issued in July. It includes a $250,000 no-bid contract with Express Scripts, under which that company provides data to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The Department uses that data to try to identify prescription drug abusers.

Legislators on the budget committee are frustrated that the administration created and found a way to pay for that program without their input or approval.

One member of the committee noted that it looks bad for the new program to have been announced at a time when the governor has withheld money from other state programs, and after the legislature refused to fund many things saying the state is in a tight budget year.

The Office of Administration’s budget director told legislators the money came from additional federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that the state had not anticipated it would get. He said the administration was free to use that money as it saw fit, and used it to address what it sees as a crisis: prescription drug abuse.

Another member of the House Budget Committee pointed out that the administration circumvented the legislature’s authority and used money that could have supported other state needs, including some the legislature voted to pay for but then later saw the governor withhold the funding.

As the member said, “Now we could have that discussion of whether it’s more deserving to go to the kids, or whether it’s more deserving to go to the seniors, or whether it’s more deserving to go to those with disabilities, but at the end of the day you are taking that money from one of these other groups.”

Criticism came from both supporters and opponents of prescription drug monitoring with those on both sides saying their problem was not with the program the governor launched, but with how he launched it.

Criticism also came from both political parties as one Democratic member said it was “extremely frustrating” that CHIP money was used without any approval or authorization from the legislature. She said, “I hope that as you all continue to come up with these new ideas to address this crisis that you bring them to us before you start moving money around.”

The House Budget Committee Chairman suggested the administration should not move forward with its drug monitoring program, and to instead bring it as a proposal to the legislature during the next budget process. urged administration officials to halt the transfer of that CHIP money to pay for the program, and to not sign a contract with Express Scripts. He called the use of that money, without the legislature’s approval, a “breach of trust.”

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

As a reminder, I will be hosting four town hall meetings in October in Cuba, Bourbon, Steelville, and St. James. These town hall meetings will be free and open to the public. I hope everyone comes out and participates in this great opportunity to ask questions and to find out more about what is happening at your state capitol.

The four town hall meetings will be held on the following dates:

  • Monday, October 30th at 9 AM
    Cuba City Hall Council Room (202 N Smith St., Cuba, MO 65453)
  • Monday, October 30th at 2 PM
    Bourbon Area Community Center (575 Elm St., Bourbon, MO 65441)
  • Tuesday, October 31st at 9 AM
    Steelville Community Center (101 W. Keysville, Steelville, MO 65565)
  • Tuesday, October 31st at 2 PM
    James Municipal Center/City Hall Meeting Room (100 S. Jefferson, St. James, MO 65559)

District Visit

Last week, I was honored to be a part of an inspiring event for the students of the Steelville School District. Local pastors Jerry Beers and Kevin Farr partnered with Convoy of Hope, a non-profit organization from Springfield.

Steelville School District Free Shoes

Using their program called Rural Compassion, every student in Steelville was provided with a free pair of shoes. Thank you to all those who donated their time to providing our area children with wonderful gifts. Also, thank you to the Steelville administrators for inviting me to be a part of it.

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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