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House sends spending plan to Senate

House sends spending plan to Senate

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Dale Wright (Wide)

Rep. Dale Wright

Dear Friends,

The members of the Missouri House gave a stamp of approval to 13 appropriations bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2022 State Operating Budget which contains more than $32 billion in state funding.

• The budget makes a significant investment in K-12 education as it once again fully funds the School Foundation Formula. Elementary and secondary education will receive $8,071,696,000 in funding and boost K-12 school transportation funding by $2.5 million.

The House also prioritized funding for Missouri’s foster care and adoption programs. Significant increases include:

• $40.7 million increase to Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies

• $12.8 million increase to Foster Care Maintenance Payments that support foster families

• $4.8 million to provide behavioral health supports for children in foster care and their families

• $3.9 million for a rate increase for respite services for foster and adoptive families

• $2.7 million for foster family recruitment

• $1.3 million increase in support for Infant Care expenses for kids in foster care

• $1.2 million increase in funds for clothing allowances for children in foster care

• $1 million for up to 16 new attorneys for foster care legal representation in Missouri’s courts

• $400,000 to boost foster parent training

The budget supports seniors in nursing homes and provides care for the developmentally disabled. It also expands mental health programs and adds public defenders to the criminal justice system, In short, the budget will support Missouri’s most vulnerable Missourians.”

Other highlights of the FY 2022 budget include:

• $7.3 million increase in federal funds for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II) to help meet needs in K-12 schools

• $3 million for a Rural Advising Program to help high school students and counselors in rural areas with college entry

• $2.1 million in new funding for Parents As Teachers parent education development

• $200,000 to help support the Missouri Scholars & Fine Arts Academies

• $67.5 million for four-year public institutions previously lost due to the pandemic

• Increases to all four of the state’s primary scholarship programs: A+, Bright Flight, Access Missouri, and Fast Track

• $3 million funding increase for Missouri’s 12 community colleges

• $325,000 to support the MU Veterans Law Clinic that provides legal assistance to veterans

• Up to $10 million from medical marijuana sales to support the Veterans Homes Program

• $4.6 million for various improvements to Missouri’s veteran homes

• $21.3 million in new funding to increase salaries and retain corrections officers

• $14 million in new funding for the Aid to Counties program (prisoner per diem)

• $2.5 million for a recidivism reduction program for recently released prisoners

• $134.1 million for the Department of Health and Senior Services for coronavirus mitigation

• $146.7 million to increase reimbursement to providers of Missouri’s developmentally disabled

The appropriations bills now move to the Senate for consideration. The two chambers must agree on a final version of the state spending plan by May 7, which is the constitutional deadline for budget approval.

Other bills sent to the Senate

HB 529 establishes the "Missouri-Made Fuels Act", which specifies that all diesel fuel sold in Missouri for use in internal combustion engines must contain at least a predetermined percentage of biodiesel fuel oil by predetermined dates. Soy bean based biodiesel was invented in Missouri and meets the renewable fuels standards. Over 200 million gallons are produced in the state each year and a large volume is exported to other states. This bill will provide Missouri jobs and grow the state's agricultural economy, while providing an environmentally friendly fuel option.

HB 834 is the bill I sponsored that will help lower the costs of prescription drugs. Companies called Pharmacy Benefits Managers manage prescription drug programs for companies. These PBMs were created to lower consumers’ prescription drug costs but after merging with insurance companies and large national drug chains they have focused on paying shareholder dividends rather than driving down drug costs. As a result of my bill they will be required to file a report each calendar year that shows: the aggregate dollar amount of rebates they collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers, the aggregate dollar amount of the rebates they did not pass on to their clients, and the aggregate dollar amount of all fees and payments they received from pharmaceutical manufacturers. The bill is needed to save consumers from being forced to pay too much for their prescription drugs. It also removes “Gag Clauses” that our community pharmacies must sign with the PBMs so that our local pharmacists can tell consumers when there is an alternative option for low cost prescription drugs. Finally, it allows consumers to choose the pharmacy of their choice for their prescription needs.

Thank you for the honor to serve as your state representative for the 116th District!

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