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Hegeman: ‘We will get the FRA done’ 

  

As the special session reaches its midpoint, FRA renewal bill sponsor Sen. Dan Hegeman said the legislature was determined to get it through the process to prevent massive budgetary withholds

“I am convinced we’ll get the FRA done,” Hegeman said. “It may be a winding path, but we’ll get one done. … The key on this is that some folks are worried that it may violate the federal standards or this social security code, and then we won’t gain anything.”

Hegeman appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to review the special session so far and the effort to renew the health care provider tax before more than $755 million is withheld across the state budget. 

The upper chamber passed its bill early Saturday morning after a standoff that lasted much of the day Friday, progressing a three-year FRA renewal package that did not include any language excluding abortion providers from Medicaid or any other program. It also changed the language regarding birth control and contraceptives to just targeting drugs or devices used to induce an abortion. It passed the chamber 28-5. 

As he prepares for a final regular session before terming out of the Senate, Hegeman said the Republican party had made strides since he began his legislative career in the House. 

“We protected the Second Amendment gun rights in the state of Missouri, probably one of the strongest states in protecting those rights,” Hegeman said. “When I was in the House in the early 2000s there were a lot of abortion providers, and practically today we don’t have any abortions going on in the state of Missouri and most of the providers are not providing services anymore, so in my mind, that’s a win.”

Health care

The Missouri Times Editor Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Sen. Mike Moon, and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz joined this week’s panel to discuss special session and other big stories 

“I think the real issue is Republican extremists in the legislature, like Sen. Moon, are trying to do is prevent people who need Medicaid for their health coverage from getting access to birth control,” Schwarz said. “Birth control is used by 99 percent of sexually active women at reproductive age and they shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their income level or other identities.”

“I think the fundamental argument is we all have the ability to choose whether we have sexual intercourse with the opposite sex, and there is a chance of pregnancy, there are ways to prevent that,” Moon said. “The government doesn’t really have to be involved in that choice.”

Much of the conflict over the FRA renewal has come from factions within the Republican party, something Gov. Mike Parson pointed to in his warning to the legislature last week. 

“It’s been interesting to watch the debate this week between Republicans who are saying who is pro-life and who isn’t pro-life enough; that seems to be the question this week,” Schallhorn said. “It is a Republican supermajority, there are Republicans here, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see them doing something pro-life.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here.