During the last week of the session, The Missouri Times will bring you updates of floor activity for each chamber. Below is all the activity in the House from Monday, May 11. For live updates on the Senate, click here.
The House has adjourned.
The House went into recess at 5:55 p.m.
The House approved the request to conference with the Senate on HB 1768.
This bill modifies provisions related to communication services.
HR 4596, Support of Taiwan, adopted
This resolution endorses the continued relationship between Missouri and Taiwan and their shared interests.
The House passed it with a vote of 140-1.
SB 544, Text-to-Donate program, failed to pass
This bill would have created a Text-to Donate program benefitting the homeless community in Kansas City and St. Louis.
The bill grew to include a number of additional provisions, including a Joint Committee on the COVID-19 Response to study the rate of infections and other health care issues related to the coronavirus. It also included an “anti-discrimination against Israel” provision concerning businesses and contracts, as well as a brief section on the regulation of dog breeds.
Other amendments added to the bill sought changes to insurance for commercial buildings, waived fees for those attempting to temporarily reclaim a health care worker license only active during a crisis like COVID-19, and changed tourism taxes.
Other amendments added dealt with a Hospital District Sales Tax Fund and property associated with generating wind energy. Floor discussion also turned to a provision known as the “Targeted Industrial Manufacturing Enhancement Zones (TIME Zones) Act,” which would provide new general revenue sources to state and political subdivisions.
The bill ultimately failed with a vote of 97-51.
The underlying bill, which I carried and would’ve created a text-to-donate program to reduce homelessness, started as a consent bill. At least now that it’s dead, all those awful amendments can do no harm. Still, feels like a gross misuse of lawmakers’ time during a pandemic. https://t.co/U20mO8yzFn
— Lauren Arthur (@LaurenArthurMO) May 11, 2020
SB 725, Omnibus bill on political subdivisions, sent to fiscal review
The bill covers a number of provisions on political subdivisions, including passages on COVID-19 and the use of emergency funds. Handled by Rep. Mike Henderson in the House, it would also establish the Joint Committee on the COVID-19 Response to study the impact on various sectors, including health care facilities and schools.
The House proposed and passed a number of amendments, clarifying language and adding provisions to the bill, while also denying a number of smaller changes.
Amendment 7, sponsored by Rep. Becky Ruth, sought to modify provisions to flood insurance and flood hazard area emergency plans as well as flood control in at-risk areas. Conversation over this was heated on both sides as it dominated half an hour of debate. Discussion covered the specifics of the regulations the amendment would back, as well as the wealth of areas affected.
After a lengthy back-and-forth, the amendment’s sponsor returned to the microphone. “We need to take a stand, and I want to continue this conversation,” Ruth said before withdrawing her amendment.
Amendment 8 saw questioning after its passage on its subject of voting and elections, despite being an amendment to a bill relating to subdivisions.
Rep. Peter Merideth passionately voiced his frustration on the subject matter of this and other amendments unrelated to the bill’s subject. “We can’t talk about our democracy in a pandemic? What are we doing here?” he said, further accusing the body of slipping unrelated ideas into legislation.
Amendment 17, sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier, which creates changes to fire districts, saw its own proposed amendment to move the bill to the November elections rather than the August date, with supporters and opponents weighing the financial aspects of the issue and the information side during the pandemic. This amendment to the amendment was passed by the body, and Amendment 17 was then passed.
Further passed amendments have covered Science, Technology, Electronics, and Math (STEM) programs, university funding, robotic package delivery, a CARES Act database, historic landfills and surrounding areas, marriage licenses, and fire protection services.
After 21 proposed amendments and more than two hours on the floor, the bill was sent to Fiscal Review.
SB 551, anti-discrimination against organ donors, passed as amended
This bill prohibits insurance discrimination against any person based on his or her status as an organ donor. It would alter regulations regarding personal life insurance services. House Amendments 1 and 2 passed, clarifying content and language in the bill.
The House Committee Substitute was adopted, and the bill was third read and passed by a vote of 147-4.
SCR 32, “Bring Our Heroes Home Act,” TAFP
This Senate bill up for third reading urges the Missouri congressional delegation to support legislation for the declassification of POW/MIA records. The bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Dave Griffith.
The House truly agreed and finally passed the bill by a vote of 150-1.
HB 1693, establishing a PDMP in Missouri, Granted House/Senate conference
Rep. Holly Rehder’s bill, known as the “Narcotics Control Act,” establishes a state-wide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Missouri is the only state not to have a statewide PDMP but has smaller-scale versions in Kansas City and St. Louis.
The system would create a database to allow doctors to see patients’ prescriptions and medical records to better prescribe medication.
The bill passed through the Senate in early March with amendments that would give oversight of the program to a “Joint Oversight Task Force” rather than the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
The bill saw debate on the House floor Monday over privacy issues and HIPPA laws from both sides of the aisle. The discussion included heated debate over both the broad implications of the legislation as well as the specific language.
The House failed to concur with the Senate amendments in the first vote.
By a vote of 110-33, the House sent the bill to conference. Time will be of the essence here as session ends this week.
Rep. Judy Morgan (HD 24) announced she would not be in Jefferson City for the final week of session. Her husband remains hospitalized after having emergency heart surgery over the weekend. Our thoughts are with Rep. Morgan and her family during this time.
House gavels in at 12:13 p.m.
The legislative day officially got underway shortly after noon with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The chamber then introduced special guests and approved the House journal from May 8, 2020.