Two weeks ago Senate and House leadership tasked their members with developing a solution to preserve in-home and nursing care for disabled Missourians who are impacted by a change in the point system that determines eligibility. Now, House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick and Senator Mike Cunningham say they are close to unveiling a solution they will be able to present to their colleagues as soon as next week.

On the last day of the 2017 legislative session, legislation was approved by the House in an attempt to preserve nursing and in-home care services for some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. In the days leading up to the conclusion of the session, House and Senate members had worked to find a solution that would keep the vital services intact. The House had passed a version of the bill that would end the renter’s portion of the senior citizens property tax credit in order to generate funds that would be used to protect the existing level of service. The Senate countered by passing a version of the bill that would raise the funds by “sweeping” the unexpended monies from several state funds associated with regulatory boards and commissions.

With the Senate being unwilling to negotiate and no other options on the table, the House then approved the Senate solution and sent it to the governor’s desk. The governor then vetoed the bill calling it a “one-time gimmick” that drained funds from programs to prevent child abuse and neglect, assist injured workers, and to train police officers and firefighters. As the legislature did not have enough votes to override the governor’s veto during the annual Veto Session, House and Senate leaders tasked Fitzpatrick and Cunningham to develop a bipartisan solution to the problem.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate Leader Ron Richard asked Fitzpatrick and Cunningham to develop a solution within a three-week timeframe that would preserve in-home and nursing care for disabled Missourians. They also asked the legislators to find a way to restore provider rate cuts, including cuts to private duty nurses who administer in-home neonatal care. Legislators now await details of the plan before deciding what steps to take next.

Missourians who live along historic Route 66 were recently reminded of the important contributions made by America’s Veterans. The “longest Veterans’ parade in America” made up of 60 vintage military vehicles made its way through the Show-Me State as part of a 2,400 mile multi-state tour. Sponsored by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, the convoy is made up of jeeps, ambulances, and trucks that were used to transport soldiers and supplies during World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Meant to celebrate Veterans and demonstrate how the Army utilized its vehicles, the convoy started in Wheaton, Illinois on September 16 and will conclude in Santa Monica, California on October 14. The group covers between 100 and 180 miles each day at an average speed of roughly 35 miles per hour. During its trip through Missouri, the convoy made stops in many communities including St. Louis, St. Clair, Sullivan, Cuba, St. James, Rolla, Ft. Leonard Wood, Marshfield, Ozark, Branson, Mt. Vernon, and Carthage.

About two-thirds of convoy members are Veterans. As the convoy commander said, the effort is an important way to reach out to the public to preserve history and to celebrate our Veterans.

This report was filed Sept. 27, 2017

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