What a busy week we had at the Capitol! Last night we worked until 11:00 p.m.
This week we had several visitors at the Capitol, many were here for the Pro-Life rally. They let their voices be heard on an issue that is very near and dear to their hearts. Visiting from Wayne County was Father Dan Hirtz, Glen Stunt, and Rhonda Boyer. Reynolds County visitors were Bill Jackson, Erma Jackson, and Melanie Harris. Also visiting for EMS Legislative Day was Justin Duncan from Washington County Ambulance.
The legislative session reached its mid-point Thursday at the close of session. So there was a lot to finish up before adjourning. The House has sent nearly 70 bills to the Senate and the two chambers have worked together to see one bill already passed and signed into law by the governor. House members will now spend time in their districts during their annual spring break and will return to the State Capitol on March 25. When we return we will focus our efforts on approving the state operating budget. Lawmakers have a deadline of May 10 to complete the state budget. There are a couple of lines items that I am continuing to watch very closely. The bills sent to the Senate by the House have until May 17, when the legislative session officially concludes, to receive approval from both chambers.
Bills Sent to the Senate this Week
HB 250 allows wholesalers to employ persons 18 years of age to unload delivery vehicles and transfer liquor into retail premises with supervision. Currently 18 year olds can sell liquor in the establishments but not allowed to transfer it into the establishment. 18 year olds are never on the distribution trucks without someone 21 or older. This would allow both individuals to unload large orders and accounts.
HB 487 allows a pharmacist to dispense self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives to a patient who is 18 years old or older. The patient will need to have a prescription from a health care practitioner but it shall have no expiration date. Experts say birth control is one of the safest drugs on the market, but also one of the hardest to get, causing women to overcome significant obstacles to stay healthy and prevent pregnancy. Patients will still have to go to the doctor to get the original prescription.
HB 523 is an issue that I hear about all the time and one that I also experience frustration with. This bill changes the penalty provisions for knowingly violating the law relating to the No-Call list. The bill creates a $2,500 to $5,000 civil penalty for the first violation, a $5,000 to $10,000 penalty upon a finding of a second violation, and a $7,500 to $15,000 penalty upon a finding of a third violation. The bill will enhance penalties for violation of the No-Call list and encourage greater enforcement by encouraging the reporting of violations with the restitution provisions for individuals. I hope this will help, however I think a lot of the unwanted calls are coming from outside the United States. You can register both your landline and your cell phone on the Do Not Call List. There is both a Missouri and a National Do Not Call List. If you are only on the Missouri list you may still receive calls from out of State.
HB 730 creates the Electronic Monitoring Reimbursement Fund. This bill allows any person who receives a not guilty verdict from a judge or jury or is exonerated through DNA evidence on or after August 28, 2022, for all offenses he or she was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring to be reimbursed for the fee and any of his or her costs associated with the monitoring. Individuals who are awaiting trial on house arrest have to pay for electronic monitoring. The issue is that a person found innocent after the trial is still responsible for that expense, however if the defendant would have been placed in jail they would not have been responsible for the fees.
HB 410 changes the laws regarding physical therapists so that physical therapists no longer need a prescription or referral from a doctor in order to treat a patient. The bill cuts unnecessary time and cost for patients by allowing a patient to go directly to a physical therapist without needing a referral first. If after 10 visits or 21 business days the patient has not demonstrated measurable or functional improvements from the treatment, consultation with an approved health care provider will then be required. Allowing more access to physical therapy will help reduce the need for opioid medication to treat pain.
HB 499 allows the Director of the Department of Revenue to order the revocation of a driver's license upon notification by the investigative officer that the license holder was involved in a physical accident involving a highway worker within a designated construction zone or work zone. The bill is necessary to prevent situations where dangerous drivers remain licensed to drive for years at a time because of faulty testing procedures or other issues with the current suspension and revocation process. The bill provides for due process and immediate reinstatement of a license upon passage of the driving test and only requires revocation upon a serious accident in a properly marked work zone where an investigation determines that the driver is likely to have violated traffic rules.
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.