Representative Jim Neely's Capitol Report
Greetings Friends of the 8th Legislative District!
Colder temperatures are upon us and it is finally starting to feel like fall. I have enjoyed these cooler temperatures as I have been very busy visiting the district. This week I was in Richmond at Ideal Industries Incorporated sitting in on a legislative forum discussing an in-depth look at Raise the Wage Act of 2019. I then headed to Lathrop where I spoke at the First Christian Church for a Memorial Highway Sign dedicated to State Trooper Fred Walker.
Improving Access to Hearing Aids for Low Income Missourians (SB 101)
Low-income Missourians with impaired hearing now have greater access to hearing aids under a new program created by legislation passed during the 2019 legislative session. Lawmakers passed the bill with bipartisan support to create a hearing aid distribution program administered by the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
The program began accepting applications on August 28. State data indicates approximately 600,000 Missourians are deaf or hard of hearing. Supporters of the new program says there are more than 88,000 Missourians who could benefit from the new program. Hearing aid technology can significantly improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss, but many insurance providers consider hearing aids an elective procedure. Because of this, and the fact that hearing aids can cost in excess of $4,000, many Missourians may go without hearing aids.
The new program is meant to remedy this problem by providing financial assistance to deaf or hard-of-hearing Missourians who earn less than the federal poverty level. The program requires the assessment for the distribution of hearing aids to be performed by licensed audiologists or hearing instrument specialists or licensed physicians. Those who wish to apply also must provide a quote for their hearing aids, and must verify their total annual income.
As the program began, the executive director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, stated, “The commission hopes to positively impact the lives of those who need hearing aids so that they can be more engaged citizens and involved to a greater degree in their communities.”
An application for hearing aid assistance can be found online at https://mcdhh.mo.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2019/08/HADP-Application-0819.pdf. Anyone interested in learning more about the program can call 573-526-5205 or email Kristin.Funk@mcdhh.mo.gov.
Recognizing the Importance of Sliced Bread (HB 266)
It was on July 6, 1928 that the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune featured a story announcing that sliced bread would be sold in stores for the first time the next day. On July 7 of that year, the Chillicothe Baking Company became the first bakers in the world to sell sliced bread, which quickly became a huge success.
Ninety-one years later, Missouri lawmakers passed legislation to commemorate the historic event with the creation of an annual Sliced Bread Day. Supporters say the annual event is an important way to promote the city of Chillicothe and draw more tourists to northern Missouri, and to celebrate the state’s history.
The sponsor of the bill said, “It’s a piece of very positive history for us to celebrate in our community and in Missouri.” He added, “It's another reason for people to come into our community and spend their dollars there as well as maybe learn things about North Central Missouri.”
It was Otto Rohwedder who spent more than a decade developing the world's first sliced bread machine. Once the product was perfected and the first sale was made in Chillicothe, demand for sliced bread quickly increased. Approximately two years after the first sale, sliced bread was being sold in every state across the country. By the 1950s, the now common phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” was being used.
The City of Chillicothe officially adopted the slogan “The Home of Sliced Bread.” The city hosted a day-long event in 2018 and a multi-day event in 2019 to celebrate the invention. Now, July 7 will be recognized every year as Missouri Sliced Bread Day.