Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

The arguments for and against Missouri Medicaid expansion that are about to be heard in Cole County Circuit Court are not surprising.

Three plaintiffs who would qualify for Medicaid based on passage of a 2020 constitutional amendment say that Missouri has no choice but to let them sign up for the health care program. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office counters that since the legislature didn’t appropriate money, the amendment is basically inoperative.

A panel of federal appeals court judges in St. Louis has blocked a 2019 Missouri law that banned most abortions at eight weeks or because a fetus has Down syndrome.

The three-judge panel from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a federal judge’s decision last year that blocked the state from enforcing the law, known as HB 126.

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A federal appeals court panel has blocked Missouri from enforcing a sweeping state abortion law that bans the procedures at or after eight weeks of pregnancy. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis handed down the ruling Wednesday.

The panel heard arguments in September in the legal battle over the 2019 law, which also would prohibit a woman from having an abortion because the fetus has Down syndrome.

With the swipe of a pen Monday, Missouri will soon become the last state in the nation to establish a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

After nearly a decade of failed attempts, Gov. Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, into law.

Lawsuit seeks to force Missouri to enact voter-approved Medicaid expansion

May 21, 2021

The least surprising lawsuit of the year, to force Missouri to provide Medicaid coverage to 275,000 people eligible under a 2020 initiative petition, was filed Thursday in Cole County.

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday that Missouri will end participation in a federal program providing an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits.

Other GOP-led states have made similar moves in recent weeks, contending that the benefit is incentivizing people not to work — and in turn causing labor shortages at places like restaurants.

Missouri is set to shed its distinction as the only state without a statewide program to track opioid prescriptions.

The state House voted 91-64 Tuesday to adopt a prescription drug monitoring program. By January 2024, all health care providers who are legally able to prescribe opioids such as oxycodone will have to enter that information into a database in real time. The intent is to keep people with substance use disorder from going to multiple providers.

The Senate already approved the program, and Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign it into law.

The Missouri House gave final approval late Tuesday to raising the state’s gas tax by 12.5 cents over the next five years, a hard-fought victory for advocates of finding a dedicated funding source for transportation projects.

The Senate passed the bill earlier in the session. The increase now goes to Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law.

The Missouri General Assembly will move into its final week of regular session Monday with scores of key priorities left unpassed, leaving lots of uncertainty about what will end up making it to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

But the passage of key education-related legislation last week could open up the floodgates for other priorities to pass.

When legislators gavel into session on Monday they’ll have a 6 p.m. Friday deadline to complete their work. Some of the key issues still to be decided include:

JEFFERSON CITY — The Republican-controlled Missouri legislature passed a $35 billion spending plan on Friday afternoon without including funding to expand Medicaid.

A 2020 constitutional amendment voters passed would add 275,000 low-income Missourians to the health care plan, with the federal government picking up 90% of the cost. But lawmakers declined to put the $130 million in the budget that would have paid the state’s share, saying the amendment didn’t specify funding.

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Governor Mike Parson said the Missouri National Guard has begun scaling back its involvement at mass vaccination sites.  The drawdown is set to be completed by June 1, according to his office.

After many of them have worked remotely for more than a year, state employees will soon return to their offices.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued a directive Wednesday ordering state employees to return to in-person work on May 17, even though COVID-19 vaccination rates in Missouri are far below the threshold for herd immunity.

In a news release, Parson said the availability of vaccines and low infection rates influenced his decision.

JEFFERSON CITY — A variety of legislative reactions to the coronavirus pandemic got a second life in a wide-ranging bill the Missouri House passed Monday.

Versions of the amendments that were attached to a higher education bill failed in earlier attempts this legislative session but found a vehicle to stay alive in the last two weeks before adjournment.

Autumn Stultz makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but would if Missouri follows through with a ballot initiative that passed last year.

With the legislature refusing to fund expansion, Stultz, who works as a caregiver for her mother in Springfield, is understandably anxious about whether she can afford medical care for herself.

“They’re not listening to the Missouri voters. They’re not listening to their constituents,” Stultz said. “And it’s really ticking a lot of people off.”

Missouri Senate Votes Down Funding For Medicaid Expansion

Apr 29, 2021

The Missouri Senate has voted against paying for Medicaid expansion. Senators on Wednesday voted 20-14 against a proposal to add the funding to the state budget.

The vote locks in the House's decision not to pay for Medicaid expansion. Missouri voters last year voted to expand who is eligible for government health care coverage to thousands more low-income adults. But the Republican-led Legislature has long opposed growing the program. Now they're trying to thwart expansion by blocking funding for it.