Ann Kelley's Capitol Connection
What’s Going on in the Capitol
More than 60 new laws passed during the 2023 legislative session will take effect at the end of the month, having received Governor Mike Parson’s signature in July. Here is a look at some of the bills becoming law on August 28, 2023.
Encouraging Professional Education
Several of the bills set to become law on August 28th will go a long way in helping to advance the skills and careers of professionals in Missouri.
SB 157 would create a loan forgiveness program for health, mental health and public health professionals who work in underserved areas for at least two years. The new program would replace one that applied specifically to doctors and placed caps on the number of loans available, meaning the access to the program is more ready to serve the wide array of medical professionals working in our state.
A similar loan forgiveness program for large animal veterinary students would expand under SB 138, doubling the number of recipients from six to 12 and increasing the maximum award amount. SB 186 creates a tuition reimbursement fund for police officers who take required training to receive their license and are then employed in Missouri for at least one year.
Missouri Resumes Checking Eligibility for Medicaid Renewal
The State of Missouri has resumed the process of checking the eligibility of everyone on the state’s Medicaid rolls after having paused that process for three years due to the pandemic. More than 1.5 million Missourians currently have healthcare coverage through MO HealthNet and will have their eligibility checked between now and May of 2024. Typically, the process of renewal and checking the eligibility of a Medicaid recipient begins on the anniversary month of the participant’s first enrollment into the program, and if the Department of Social Services (DHSS) cannot automatically verify their eligibility, the participant should receive their paperwork for renewal in the mail 55 days before their annual renewal is due.
The Department of Social Services has a number of resources to answer any questions and guide participants through the process on their website, which can be accessed at mydss.mo.gov/renew/faqs.
Missouri’s First Infant Rescue Box Dedicated
Missouri is taking more strides to ensure the safety and wellbeing of newborns by implementing the first and only Safe Haven Baby Box in operation just a few years after passing legislation to allow another option to struggling parents. The Missouri legislature passed language in 2021 allowing Safe Haven Baby Boxes to be used, and now the first baby rescue box is being installed in Missouri at the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s Station 2 this month.
The Safe Haven Baby Box is a safety device that allows a mother in crisis to safely place a newborn into a secured incubator in the event that they are unable to care for the child. The baby box is installed on an exterior wall at a designated fire station or hospital, with an exterior door that automatically locks upon placement of a newborn inside the Baby Box, and an interior door that allows a medical staff member to secure the surrendered newborn from inside the designated building. According to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, the company responsible for the incubator box, there are 152 active baby boxes currently in the United States, and to date, 32 babies have been safely surrendered in those baby boxes.
New Marijuana Regulations Taking Effect
New regulations have just taken effect when it comes to the state’s cannabis industry, and one of these changes could mean harsher penalties if the organizers of a marijuana facility host an event that fails to ensure the regulations are followed. As of Sunday, July 30th, officials will now have the power to fine, suspend operations, or even revoke the licenses of marijuana facilities if unlawful activities occur at events they host.
Another new rule being implemented will give the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) the power to issue subpoenas directly to the licensed marijuana facility and third parties. In effect, the department can skip the step of going to a judge to get a subpoena to obtain records and information, which is meant to help DHSS in situations where a third party is involved, and refusing to comply with the licensees which the department has authority over.
Taking Care of YOU
Resolutions: My office offers Courtesy Resolutions for birthdays, deceased loved ones, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts, Glory Awards, Marriage, Retirement, Sports, Wedding Anniversary’s, and Veterans. To request one, please call my office at (573) 751-2165.
Flags: Are you in need of a new flag? I offer new Missouri State and United States flags upon request. If you need a flag for a special circumstance, we can even fly it over the capitol for you. These flags are available for any non-profit organizations and groups.
Scheduling a Capitol Trip: If your school is traveling to Jefferson City, contact my capitol office to set up tours times for the Capitol, Supreme Court, and Missouri State Penitentiary. These tours fill up fast in a first come first serve basis. Please give us a months’ notice in order to ensure you get tours of everything.
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