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Capitol Report - 4/08/16

5 Weeks to Go!

Bills are moving fast and both Houses are working diligently to finalize the budget, wrap up remaining bills coming through committees and discuss all bills that have advanced to the floor.

Paycheck Protection is waiting for our veto over-ride.  I'm looking forward to getting this done!

The Narcotics Control Act is scheduled to be heard in the Senate committee on April 20th.   Keep this in your prayers please!


 

The ladies from Bootheel Babies made the trip up from Southeast Missouri to lobby on behalf of this important program.


 

So excited to have some of our East Prairie ladies up this week with Mississippi County Caring Communities.  They had a table display in the rotunda and met with legislators about the programs they provide.  Very important to our communities!


 

First Ethics Reform Measure Advances to Governor’s Desk (HB 1983)

Making good on the promise to make substantive ethics reform a top priority, the General Assembly sent legislation to the governor’s desk this week that would help improve the culture at the State Capitol. The legislation that has now received final approval from both the House and Senate would prohibit statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly from receiving compensation as paid political consultants.
 
The bill, which received bipartisan support in the House and unanimous approval in the Senate, would ensure that elected officials do not receive pay for campaign strategy or fundraising work while in office. The sponsor of the legislation explained how some elected officials have used their positions to gain personal wealth, and the bill is meant to prevent this type of conflict of interest.  You would think this common sense measure would already be in place....but, hopefully it will be soon!
 
The bill now awaits the signature of the governor, who has said he supports strengthening the state’s ethics laws. 


 

I love having our retired teachers up from Sikeston each year.  Seeing Mrs. Marlys always puts a smile on my face!  You can bet these ladies had fun while getting business done.


 

House Approves “Step Therapy” Measure to Improve Access to Vital Medications (HB 2029)

Missourians with chronic illnesses would have better access to the medications they need under legislation approved by the Missouri House this week. The legislation is designed to prevent redundant “step therapy” so that patients who switch health insurance benefits are not forced to try medications that have already proven to be ineffective before being allowed to use medication that works.
 
The bill is designed to address a problem the sponsor encountered as he sought medical treatment for his type II diabetes. With step therapy, a patient will first use the most cost-effective and safest medication and, if it is not effective, will then move to a more costly therapy. Step therapy has been an effective process, but the sponsor noted that it becomes an issue when a patient tries several medications to find one that is effective, but then has to start the process all over again when changing insurance providers.
 
The legislation approved by the House simply ensures that a patient will not have to go through the process of trying multiple medications again simply because of an insurance change. In effect, it makes it so the medicine prescribed by the patient’s doctor is the medicine the patient is allowed to take. 
 
The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support and is now on its way to the Senate for consideration.


 

Farm Bureau has an annual dinner for farmers and legislators each year in Jefferson City.  Several farmers from SEMO always make it up.  In this picture is Rep. Tila Hubrecht, Tom and Becky Jennings, Holly and Mr. Matt Bain from Lt. Governor Peter Kinder's office.


 

Expanding Access to Health Care (HB 1923)

The Missouri House approved legislation this week designed to modernize health care in Missouri, and improve the level of care provided by the state’s system of Medicaid. The legislation brings telehealth services in Missouri into state statute and works to bring greater access to health care to Missourians in rural and underserved areas. 
 
The bill would update Missouri’s laws on Medicaid reimbursement in regard to telehealth services so that more health care professionals could provide telehealth care to Medicaid recipients. Supporters of the bill say it is an important change that will allow patients to receive care without having to travel long distances. They noted the change could also result in a significant cost savings. In 2015 the state’s Medicaid program allocated more than $40 million for use in providing non-emergency medical transportation to take patients in underserved areas to see specialists.
 
The legislation would further expand telehealth services by adding schools as an approved originating site that is eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. Additionally, the bill clarifies the law regarding prescriptions made by a physician via telemedicine to better ensure pharmacies will provide the prescribed medication.
 
Telehealth is a means of delivering health care through the use of videoconferencing and other telecommunication technologies. It allows patients to have a live, real-time interaction with a specialist, who can provide care almost as effectively as if they are in the same room. Telemedicine has been an option for some Missourians for more than two decades now and the Missouri Telehealth Network has more than 200 sites in 62 Missouri counties. The network provided 30,000 appointments in 2013 that allowed most patients to see specialists that weren’t available in their hometown. A recent study by the network found that 90 percent of patients and providers were satisfied with the quality of care they received via telemedicine.


 

Our SEMO Electric folks stopped in last week to talk about the issues facing our utility companies today.  Great group from Southeast Missouri....and much better weather for their trip this year!


 

Each year Senator Doug Libla brings a group of kids up from the Bootheel to show them their Capitol and to learn a little about the legislative process.  This is such a great experience for the kids and I can't thank Senator Libla enough for his kindness and concern about our communities and constituents.  In this picture, Rep. Don Rone is answering questions.


 

Honoring Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans

Some of the state’s greatest heroes made their way to the State Capitol this week to be honored for their service to this country. Vietnam veterans traveled to Jefferson City to be honored by lawmakers during the annual observance of Vietnam Veterans Day.
 
House members offered resolutions to many of the visiting veterans in appreciation for their service to the United States. Lawmakers also gathered in the House Lounge to offer their sincere thanks to the many veterans in attendance. Finally, members paused from a busy day of debate to honor the visiting Vietnam Veterans on the House floor.
 
The observance of Vietnam Veterans Day was created by HB 1128, which was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor in 2012. The day is meant to recognize the courage and patriotism of those who served during the Vietnam Conflict.


 

Look at this awesome group that came to the Capitol from Southeast Missouri!  Brian Henson brought the students up from the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.  They were in Jefferson City for the SkillsUSA leadership state competition.


 

Representative Swan and Holly working on the House floor

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Holly Rehder, state representative, 148th District paid for by friends of Holly Rehder, Lisa Neumeyer, Treasurer
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