Senator Denny Hoskins Capitol Report
Truly Agreed, Finally Passed
The first bill “truly agreed and finally passed” during the 2020 legislative session is now on its way to the governor. House Bill 1511 authorizes Missouri boards, commissions and other regulatory bodies to issue professional licenses to spouses of military personnel based on their certification in other states. Soon, professionals who are married to service members stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Fort Leonard Wood and other Missouri facilities will be able to qualify for jobs in their fields without having to reestablish their credentials.
House Bill 1511 allows the husband or wife of a member of the military serving in Missouri to apply for an occupational license in our state, as long as they hold a valid current license issued by another state or territory of the United States.
Also this week, the Senate reached a compromise on legislation that would create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri. Several members of the Senate have resisted a prescriptions database for years. After extensive negotiations, proponents of the measure agreed to scrap a statewide database and make opioid prescription records available through the secure information exchanges that health care professionals currently use to share other medical records.
As amended, House Bill 1693 Missouri’s statewide PDMP would not be maintained by the Department of Health and Senior Services. Instead, the revised bill creates a task force of medical professionals to contract with private vendors and oversee the program. Prescription records will only be available to health care providers and pharmacists. Law enforcement will have no access to personal data and the information cannot be used to deny 2nd Amendment rights, assist prosecution or to obtain a warrant. All HIPAA medical privacy rules will apply and the records must be purged after three years.
The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc on thousands of Missouri families, but it’s important to seek solutions that actually address the problem. Doctor shopping for prescriptions – the issue a PDMP is supposed to fix – accounts for a small percentage of drug overdoses. My concern was that addressing this narrow aspect of the problem did not justify creating a central database that could subject personal medical information to misuse and security breaches. The legislation agreed to in the Senate this week reduces those concerns while still providing medical professionals information to help them identify signs of opioid addiction.
Another measure advancing this week was Senate Bill 569. This legislation combines several provisions relating to survivors of sexual assault. Evidence kits collected following a sexual attack will be electronically tracked so victims, law enforcement and prosecutors can stay apprised of a case’s progress. The measure also creates a network of nurses trained to collect evidence and connect them through the telehealth system. Senate Bill 569 includes a "Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights" and creates the Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force.
KEEPING COVID-19 AWAY
Concerns about the coronavirus hit closer to home after a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in St. Louis. Due to an abundance of caution, the Missouri Senate will extend its annual spring recess. The recess, which was scheduled to begin March 23, has been moved ahead to March 13. All Senate offices will be closed until March 30. My office staff will still be working and may be reached by phone or email.
For more information about the coronavirus in Missouri, visit the Department of Health and Senior Services online at www.health.mo.gov. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, please call the department’s hotline at 877-435-8411.
So far, COVID-19 remains under control in Missouri, but everyone needs to take precautions to prevent the spread of it or any other virus. Other countries have shown the best approach to stopping the spread of the coronavirus seems to be limiting contact. Please stay home if you feel ill and, of course, wash your hands frequently.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at email@example.com.