Greetings friends of the 144th Legislative District!
This week I along Rep. Shawan — who represents the other part of Wayne County — attended the Missouri Rural Water Association Boot Heel Conference. They are starting a new apprentice program in the district and Eric Fuchs invited us to attend to update us on the new program. We appreciate the invitation and the opportunity to become more educated on our rural water districts.
I enjoyed speaking to the AARP group in Piedmont on Monday. I gave them a legislative update from the previous session and updated them on the upcoming veto and special session to be held in September. It was a nice open forum discussion and best of all was the potluck lunch! Thanks to all who prepared the meal and to all who participated in the discussion.
I traveled over 500 miles this week speaking with school superintendents, local elected officials, senior citizens and other constituents about issues that are important to them. I do my best to attend events and meet with everyone who request it. However, with a district as big as ours, it is impossible to attend everything. Even if I can’t attend your event, I will always address every issue in whatever way I can.
Special Session to Address Motor Vehicle Sales Tax
In a few weeks legislators will return to Jefferson City for the constitutionally-mandated veto session, and this week we learned we will have additional work in the form of a special session called by Gov. Mike Parson. The governor said the special session — which will begin Sept. 9 and run concurrently with the veto session — will focus on a tax issue involving vehicle trade-ins.
Specifically, the special session will give lawmakers an opportunity to fix a state statute to allow the sales proceeds of more than one vehicle, trailer, boat or outboard motor to be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of another. The fix is necessary because a recent ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court clarified that the sales proceeds of only one vehicle may be used as a credit against the sales tax owed on the purchase of a new vehicle.
The governor has asked lawmakers to amend the state law to allow for the sale of multiple vehicles to be used as a credit. The fix would be in line with the Department of Revenue's prior practice and what consumers have come to expect.
In calling the special session, Gov. Parson said, “After reviewing the court’s decision, we’ve decided to call a special session because it’s simply the right thing to do for the people of our state. The enforcement of this decision would create a financial burden on Missouri taxpayers and unnecessary government red tape that we can proactively prevent.”
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The special session will begin Monday, Sept. 9. The annual veto session will begin Wednesday, Sept. 11.
House Leaders Updated on Medicaid Enrollment Numbers
House members have continued to look closely at the declining enrollment numbers for the state’s Medicaid system. This week, House Speaker Elijah Haahr met with MO HealthNet Director Todd Richardson to receive an update regarding the drop in the number of children enrolled in Medicaid.
As a result of the meeting, Speaker Haahr learned that the decrease in caseloads is not a surprise to the department, especially now that the new renewal computer system has had a full year to complete the Annual Review Process. The department anticipated a drop in enrollment in part because of changes in 2016 to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when the Medicaid caseload was at its high-water mark.
These changes combined with an improved economy have lowered the Medicaid caseload similar to numbers before the ACA took effect in 2014. The speaker learned this change is consistent with other state assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which have fallen below its 2014 level.
The speaker also learned that from 2014 to 2018, a previous administration did not robustly verify eligibility requirements of individuals on an annual basis. This led to the automatic renewal of a significant number of enrollees, many of whom did not qualify for assistance. With new software, the comprehensive review is performing a needed cleanup of those who are not eligible for Medicaid benefits.
The department assured Speaker Haahr that anyone who applies for Medicaid and meets the eligibility requirements will receive services. If someone loses Medicaid coverage, they can apply at any time to explore eligibility for immediate and prior quarter coverage. There are more than 263 entities statewide who can determine presumptive eligibility, meaning Missourians can receive immediate Medicaid coverage.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns or suggestions you might have. As your representative I am here to assist you however I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112.