Representative Jim Neely's Capitol Report
As Missourians in all parts of the state continue to recover from the severe weather and flooding that has devastated the Midwest, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) is providing helpful information to those who would like to offer their assistance, and to those who need assistance.
SEMA recommends that Missourians who would like to donate to assist with disaster relief efforts in Missouri, or elsewhere in the country, should consider making financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization. Monetary donations allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors.
Information about donating or volunteer opportunities is available from 211 Missouri, which can be reached by dialing 211, or (800) 427-4626. This information is also available at the 211 Missouri website located at this link: https://www.211helps.org/
Donations to the Red Cross are also encouraged by SEMA. Your contribution will support disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the floods and tornadoes throughout Missouri; providing shelter, food, emotional support, other supplies and assistance. In many cases it takes a lengthy period of time for communities and individuals to recover from a disaster. Your donations can make a difference. You can donate to the Red Cross at this link: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/
SEMA also has helpful information for individuals who are affected by a natural disaster. In the days following the disaster and throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor news reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. Missourians who are affected should continue to listen to instructions from their local leaders on seeking assistance.
Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: American Red Cross, Red Cross Shelter Locator (which can be reached at 866-438-4636), Salvation Army, United Way 2-1-1, and United Way Greater KC 2-1-1. Additionally, your county or municipal emergency management director is the best source of information on local conditions and programs, along with assistance that may be available.
SEMA officials also want to remind Missourians that natural disasters often bring out con artists, scammers and those looking to make a quick buck by taking advantage of disaster survivors and others wishing to help. Criminals frequently target those who are perceived as vulnerable or in need of assistance. Scams that consumers should be aware of following disasters are home repair scams, price gouging, charitable donation scams and individuals attempting to sell automobiles damaged in a disaster.
Pro-Life Legislation Signed into Law (HB 126)
On the final day of the legislative session, the General Assembly passed legislation that supporters say is the strongest pro-life bill in Missouri History. One week later, Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill into law.
In signing the bill, Parson said, “We are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn. All life has value and is worth protecting.” I am proud to stand alongside our Governor in protecting innocent lives.
Referred to as the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, the bill would prohibit physicians from performing an abortion at 8 weeks gestational age or later. The bill also contains additional clauses to protect the lives of the unborn. Should the 8 week ban not stand up to the scrutiny of the court, the bill has a tiered approach that would then enact bans at 14 weeks, 18 weeks, or 20 weeks.
The legislation also states it is the intent of the state of Missouri to prohibit all abortions in the state under any circumstances. The comprehensive ban on abortion would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, or if changes are made at the federal level to empower states to further regulate abortion. The only exception to the abortion ban would be in the case of a medical emergency.
Additionally, the bill contains provisions that would expand the existing tax credit for pro-life pregnancy resource centers and require referrals for out-of-state abortions to include the same informed consent materials that are required for an abortion performed in Missouri.
The majority of the provisions in the bill will become law on Aug. 28. The bill does contain an emergency clause that will put a section pertaining to parental consent into law immediately. The provision requires a parent or guardian giving written consent for a minor to get an abortion to first notify the other parent. The notification requirement is waived if the other parent has been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, is subject to a protection order, is “habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition,” or lacks legal or physical custody.
Helping Prevent Opioid-Related Deaths (HB 399 and SB 514)
Two pieces of legislation passed during the final week of the legislative session contain a provision that will allow patients who are being treated for opioid withdrawal to receive their medications without delay. With the passage of the bills, Missouri joins a handful of states that are moving forward with policy that would prohibit prior authorization delays on drugs used to treat opioid withdrawal.
The legislation will make medically-assisted treatment available to patients with opioid use disorders without the need for prior authorization. CDC reports show there were 47,600 opioid-related deaths in 2017.
Giving these patients the treatment they need at the time of their encounter is critical to preventing drug overdose deaths. Delaying treatment for the treatment of opioid withdrawal leads to these individuals going out and finding opioids one way or another. That is the nature of addiction. The opioids on the street are much more potent than prescription opioids and therefore they are much more likely to cause overdose deaths. Both bills now await the governor’s signature to become law.
I hope you have a wonderful week! 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 Jim.Neely@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-0246.