Capitol Report: Fighting Food Insecurity
I hope the first days of summer are treating you well and you are staying cool. My reporting of this year’s legislation will be coming to an end. Look for at least one more report to follow this one. For a complete list, I encourage everyone to research all bills for more information by going to house.mo.gov and click on Legislation. I encourage you to sign up to receive my full Capitol Report by emailing me at Tim.Taylor@house.mo.gov..
Fighting Food Insecurity (HB 432)
The Missouri Department of Social Services must submit a participation plan to the USDA’s Farm to Food Bank Project, which helps get fresh produce to families who struggle with food insecurity. The program allows food banks to collect unharvested agricultural products from farmers’ fields once gleaning is complete. The stipend farmers receive for their leftover crops is paid through federal funds and requires no Missouri taxpayer resources. The bill also allows women and children eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to use their benefits at a local farmers market.
Supporting Sheltered Workshops (HB 432)
This bill protects Missouri’s 87 independent sheltered workshops that employ more than 5,800 people with disabilities, from actions proposed at the federal level. It mirrors the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which authorizes employers to pay workers with disabilities at commensurate wage rates when their disability affects their productivity for the work being performed. Congress is currently considering legislation to abolish the federal language, but HB 432 will ensure commensurate wages are preserved in Missouri.
Providing Resources for Missourians with Alzheimer’s (HB 432)
Another provision in HB 432 will establish the "Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force" in the Department of Health and Senior Services that will assess and maintain a state plan to overcome the challenges of Alzheimer's disease. It will assess the existing services and resources available for persons with Alzheimer's disease and their families and identify opportunities for Missouri to coordinate with federal entities. The task force will deliver a report to the governor and General Assembly by June 1, 2022.
Increasing Access to Lifesaving Medication (HB 476)
A provision in HB 476 will allow HIV prevention medication to be dispensed by pharmacists without a prescription. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medications, if taken within 72 hours of potential exposure, can prevent patients from becoming HIV positive. If signed by the governor, Missouri will become the second state in the nation after California to allow these medications to be dispensed without a prescription. Pharmacists would operate under an established protocol formed with a licensed physician to distribute the drugs to patients in need, similar to how vaccines are administered in pharmacies across the state.
Protecting the Private Information of Missourians (HB 362)
The bill is meant to prevent individuals and organizations from obtaining contact information of members of the public to use for their own purposes such as political campaigning. When a public governmental body receives email addresses and telephone numbers submitted by individuals for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications, the bill allows the body to close the records. The bill also allows a public governmental body to close records of utility usage and bill records for customers of public utilities unless the customer requests them or authorizes their release. Additionally, the bill allows a public governmental body to close records related to security and evacuation procedures, including software or surveillance companies that secure the building, for public governmental property.
Protecting Missouri Farms from Unauthorized Inspections (HB 574)
This bill is to protect agricultural producers from animal rights activists who may seek access to their facilities under false pretenses, and is also designed to limit the spread of disease by ensuring only qualified inspectors are allowed into the facilities. The bill specifies the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture, the county sheriff and any other federal or Missouri state agency with statutory or regulatory authority have exclusive authority to inspect the grounds or facilities in Missouri. Facilities include those used for the production of eggs, milk or other dairy products, or raising of livestock.
Exempting Stimulus Payments from State Income Tax (SB 153) This bill will protect Missourians from having to pay state income tax on the federal stimulus payments they received. It is similar to one approved by the legislature last year that exempted the first round of stimulus payments from state income tax. However, that bill did not account for future rounds of stimulus payments. SB 153 will eliminate tax liability for all federal stimulus payments.
It is my honor to serve the constituents of District 48. If you have questions, concerns, or input, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-0169 or you can reach my Legislator Assistant, June, at June.Cardwell@house.mo.gov.