Activity on Tracked Bills

When the legislative session begins we usually have items of interests that we intend to monitor, educate our members on and activate them on as needed. Often times these issues are supplemented by “new” ones that pop up as session starts to roll.

 

With the completion of the first half of the session, here is where some of the bills and issues of interest stand.

Medicaid Expansion (aka, Obamacaid)

 
Senator Ryan Silvey continues to push for the expansion of Obamacaid and has sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 287 and SB 566 attempting to implement Obamacaid in Missouri. SB287 uses veterans as pawns in the expansion discussion.  As a veteran and having spoken with many other veterans, this approach to use veterans as pawns is appalling. The Missouri Torch does a pretty good job of debunking the “reasons” for the bill in this article. Fortunately most Senators including leadership have acknowledged that Medicaid Expansion is against the will of Missourians.The House continues their opposition to the Obamacaid expansion. In a vote on a budget amendment that attempted to place it in the budget, the House rejected the proposition on a 115-44 vote.

 

One area to watch is that some Republicans are trying to convince legislators and others that if they do not pass a Medicaid Expansion bill that a ballot measure will be circulated to do it.  While that may be true, the likelihood of such a measure to pass is very small. Time after time Missourians have rejected Obamacare in all of its forms. There is no reason to think they would not reject the Obamacaid portion of Obamacare.

You can help us meet a fundraising challenge by making a contribution to United for Missouri’s Future.  Your contribution of $5, $10, $25 or more will help keep educational information like this coming your way.  Thank you in advance for your support!

 

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

 

The thought behind the PDMP is understandable. Some people doctor shop and if everyone in the health care chain knew what everyone was prescribed already it would reduce the number of drug overdoses in the state. Laudable but not supportable.

 

Missouri is the only state that does not currently have a PDMP in place.  However, data shows that Missouri ranks 24th in overdose deaths (this includes illegal drug overdoses). This means that the 23 states with a PDMP still have a higher rate of overdose deaths than Missouri even though they have compromised their citizens privacy and health care data.

 

The House has passed a PDMP bill every year for the past several years. This year is no exception.  House Bill (HB) 130 was passed 107-48.The Senate is considering SB 63/111 that would also establish a PDMP.  The difference between the House and Senate are signficant. The Senate bill narrows the access to the privacy data of citizens.  The best part of it is that the database is not accessible by anyone out of state. At least intentionally.

 

The real problem is that once the state collects this data, there are no assurances that it will remain protected either from hacking or even though the law prohibits it, the state from sharing it with others. The Senate version would prohibit such actions but we know that the laws regarding the Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permits holders were ignored because bureaucrats interpreted a federal law to override the state’s restrictions on release of data. It didn’t but they did it anyway three or four times!There aren’t enough elected officials who understand that trading a little liberty for little security is not only not a good trade but isn’t acceptable. Sadly, some people don’t realize that either.

 

You can help us meet a fundraising challenge by making a contribution to United for Missouri’s Future.  Your contribution of $5, $10, $25 or more will help keep educational information like this coming your way.  Thank you in advance for your support!

 

Spending Limitation

The legislature is on a fast track to pass the budget before the Constitutionally mandated time. Hopefully they can complete it in time to send it to the Governor to either veto or sign before session is over.
The budget continues to grow. To some degree this is inevitable as there remains increases in prices and salaries. However, much of the growth can be attributed to growth in social services programs that require maintenance of effort.  Funding for education continues to grow every year as well.House Joint Resolution (HJR) 34 would provide citizens with a brake to unlimited spending increases. If voters approve HJR 34, the growth in spending growth limit would be the greater of zero or the sum of the annual rate of inflation and the annual percentage change in Missouri’s population.  Makes sense. Inflation drives up spending as does population increases.

 

HJR 34 is a bill I proposed several years ago and the legislature has had difficulty passing it. The House has passed various versions. The big government spenders who have their hands in the taxpayers’ pockets sadly have been able to stop it in the Senate. Hopefully this year the momentum will be such than we will be voting on this next year!

 

You can help us meet a fundraising challenge by making a contribution to United for Missouri’s Future.  Your contribution of $5, $10, $25 or more will help keep educational information like this coming your way.  Thank you in advance for your support!

 

Red Light Cameras

Last November the voters in St Charles County overwhelmingly (nearly 73%) voted to change their Home Rule Charter to prohibit the use of automated traffic enforcement systems (RLC’s, speed cameras, etc.). While the charter amendment is perfectly Constitutional, several of the cities in St Charles County are suing the voters saying it’s not. Taxpayers are paying for being sued and for defending themselves! This is a good example of out of control government and that local control is not all that it is cracked up to be.

 

Several bills have been sponsored to eliminate these devices. The one with the most likelihood of passing is HB 207. The bill places into the statute the prohibition on the use of these devices by any city or state agency if voters approve it in a statewide vote in 2016.  While it would be best to have the legislature just vote this provision into place, the opposition is such that placing it on the ballot is more likely to be successful. We anticipate it will come up shortly after the legislature’s return.

 

SB 196 is another version that will be heard in committee on Wednesday.  This bill would eliminate RLC’s as well but does not require a statewide vote.
 
You can help us meet a fundraising challenge by making a contribution to United for Missouri’s Future.  Your contribution of $5, $10, $25 or more will help keep educational information like this coming your way.  Thank you in advance for your support!
 

New St Louis Stadium

 
As you are probably aware, the Governor has proposed to put state taxpayers on the hook for at least another 30+ years of bond payments to build yet another publicly funded stadium in St Louis.  He claims there will be no new taxes but what he doesn’t say is that the current state payment of $12 million per year will continue on for another 30+ years increasing the taxpayers’ obligation by at least $350 million for which they will end up paying almost $700 million when interest is considered. The economics of a new stadium do not support state taxpayers being placed on the hook for it! Here’s some of the Myths and Half-truths being told about the new stadium.

 

A couple of polls have been conducted of likely voters showing that statewide 70% of likely voters do not support a new publicly funded stadium. One poll showed that even in the St Louis region 70% of likely voters disapprove of the publicly funded stadium plan.

 

The Governor remains undaunted in trying to rescue his legacy after his monumental failure in the Ferguson debacle. He is doubling down by saying he alone can make the decision to “extend” the current bonds to build the new stadium and doesn’t need the legislature to do it. Many lawyers and legislators disagree. The Governor’s opinion is his standard modus operandi. It’s not clear if the Governor thought of it on his own or is just mimicking Barack Obama’s ruling style. Click here to let the Governor and your legislators know you oppose public funding of a new stadium!

 

SB 460 & 319 makes it clear to the Governor he has to have legislative approval to extend the bonds. That’s the current law but the Governor ignores it. HB 779 also proposes to do the same thing. SB 460 & 319 have been through committee and can be brought up any time.

 

This is just a small sampling of the over 2000 bills and resolutions filed so far in the 2015 legislative session.
Stay tuned for more information as things start to pop as the session begins to wind up.

 

You can help us meet a fundraising challenge by making a contribution to United for Missouri’s Future.  Your contribution of $5, $10, $25 or more will help keep educational information like this coming your way.  Thank you in advance for your support!