Monday, July 31, 2006

Senate Committee Hearings for the Week of 07/31/06:

Committee: Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering
Date: Monday, July 31 Time: 11:00 AM Room: Senate Lounge

Subject: Illegal Gaming Devices

The committee shall be responsible for, but not limited to, legislative review of all state authorized gaming and wagering activities including proposed constitutional and statutory changes or other pertinent information that may affect the integrity of these activities. The committee is authorized to meet and act year round, employ the necessary personnel within the limits of appropriations and to report its findings annually to the general assembly.


Committee: Joint Committee on Tax Policy
Date: Tuesday, August 1 Time: 10:30 AM Room: Teleconference Call
Subject: Consideration of FY 2007 JCTP Budget

It shall be the duty of the committee:
(1) To make a continuing study and analysis of the current and proposed tax policy of this state as it relates to:
(a) Fairness and equity;
(b) True economic impact;
(c) Burden on individuals and businesses;
(d) Effectiveness of tax expenditures;
(e) Impact on political subdivisions of this state;
(f) Agreements and contracts with the federal government, other states and territories, political subdivisions, and private entities relating to the collection and administration of state and local taxes and fees;
(g) Compliance with the state and United States Constitution and federal and international law; and
(h) The effects of interstate commerce;
(2) To make a continuing study and review of the department of revenue, the department of economic development, the state tax commission, and any other state agency, commission, or state executive office responsible for the administration of tax policies;
(3) To study the effects of the coupling or decoupling with the federal income tax code as it relates to the state income tax;
(4) To make recommendations, as and when the committee deems fit, to the general assembly for legislative action or to report findings and to the departments, commissions, and offices for administrative or procedural changes;
(5) To study the effects of a sales tax holiday; and
(6) To examine and assess the public benefit of any tax credit program that is the subject of an audit by the state auditor pursuant to section 620.1300, RSMo, and provide a report to the general assembly and the governor with the committee's findings and recommendations, if any, regarding such tax credit program within six months of receiving the audit report.
Committee: Senate Interim Committee on Certificate of Need
Date: Tuesday, August 1 Time: 1:00 PM Room: Senate Lounge Subject: Organizing/Purpose of the committee, testimony
Discussion will include proponents of CON, results from states that have eliminated and/or reinstated CON, effects of completely eliminating CON, and a 20 minute presentation by Thomas R. Piper, Director, Missouri Certificate of Need Program regarding the background of CON on the state and national level, and the current status of CON in Missouri for hospitals, medical facilities, equipment, and long term care.

Committee: Senate Interim Commiittee on 21st Century Choice in Technology
Date: Friday, August 4 Time: 1:00 PM Room: Long Memorial Hall, 110 W. Columbia, Farmington

Subject: The technological and economic impact of deregulation and increasing competition in energy production, distribution and sale on residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

The duties of the committee shall be:
1) To study the use of technology to improve education and rural medical care and the implications of improved technology on competition and consumer choice.
2) To examine the financial, legal, social, taxation, environmental, and technological issues of 21st century telecommunications, cable television, and all Internet services.
3) To review and develop an understanding regarding the recent changes by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission and how these changes affect this state.
4) To evaluate the technological and economic impact of deregulation and increasing competition in energy production, distribution and sale on residents, businesses, and other stakeholders.
5) To explore assistive technology for disabled, aged, and blind individuals, specifically as it relates to Relay Missouri.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lawmakers Continue to Work During Interim

A fair number of Missourians probably assume that once the annual legislative session ends in May, lawmakers return to the private sector for the rest of the year. While it is true that many lawmakers return to their “second” jobs as doctors, lawyers, or farmers, the duties and responsibilities of Missouri legislators continue throughout the year.
In the Missouri Senate, most members serve on one or more interim committees, which meet during the summer and fall to gather public input and draft legislation to be considered in the next session. The Senate Interim Committee on the Cost of a College Education, for example, will meet this summer to consider the role of the state in funding a college education for Missouri students. Committee members will examine how higher education is funded in this state and consider alternative funding structures, they will examine the mechanism by which tuition rates are set at Missouri institutions of higher learning, and they will study student indebtedness resulting from funding a college education. Other Senate interim committees will examine adoption promotion and child support enforcement, wellness promotion in healthcare, and pandemic preparedness.
Health care issues are typically addressed each legislative session. Some legislative ideas may come from the Senate Interim Committee on Certificate of Need, which will hold a public hearing at the state Capitol building August 1st. Certificate of Need is an effort to contain costs, improve quality and increase access for many of Missouri’s major health care services.
The interim committee is tasked with a number of duties, including:
- evaluating options that would limit or repeal the application of certificate of need requirements for hospitals and other healthcare facilities
- evaluate the impact of physician ownership and self-referral in healthcare
- examine the effect of the current certificate of need law on consumer choice
- evaluate the effect of the certificate of need law on flexibility in developing alternative healthcare delivery systems that are sufficient to meet the needs of the expanding elderly population, and
- explore the impact of various changes to the certificate of need law on competition in the healthcare market.
The committee must issue a report and make recommendations for legislation by January 26, 2007.
The Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering will hold a hearing July 31 in the Senate Lounge to consider legislative responses to the growth of illegal gambling devices in Missouri.
To access the Senate hearing schedule, click on the following link:
senate hearing schedule.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Latest Senate Bills Signed by Governor Blunt

Latest Senate Bills Signed by Governor Blunt

7/12 SB 618 Provides that electronic access cards may be issued to custodial parents for disbursement of child support payments Koster
7/12 SB 641 Requires all contributions to the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program be held for twelve months Scott
7/12 SB 778 Raises fees for registration of boats, vessels Ridgeway
7/12 SB 834 Alters various provisions of the state's special education policy Nodler
7/12 SB 1146 Modifies the process for review of an administrative agency's decisions Ridgeway
7/10 SB 616 Prescribes requirements for assisted living facilities Stouffer
7/10 SB 840 Modifies the highway and bridge naming process Stouffer
7/10 SB 892 Modifies law relating to financial institutions Scott
7/10 SB 894 Renders multiple alterations to the state's education policy Nodler
7/10 SB 900 Modifies provisions on the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Fund Shields
7/10 SB 1002 Allows the imposition of an additional fee for drainage districts Mayer
7/10 SB 1066 Allows certain telecomm. companies the opportunity to request waiver that tariff be filed to reduce rates Klindt
7/10 SB 1208 Modifies law allowing corporations to amend their articles of incorporation
Koster
7/7 SB 567 Modifies provisions relating to health insurance Dougherty

Monday, July 10, 2006

Latest Legislative News

A bill drafted and advanced by Sen. Pat Dougherty, D-St. Louis, expanding healthcare insurance coverage for Missourians has been signed into law by the governor.
Sen. Dougherty’s healthcare accessibility initiative makes insurance coverage more available and affordable for patients and employers by requiring health insurance companies to provide coverage for routine patient-care costs incurred as the result of phase II clinical trials undertaken to treat cancer. The law as it stood required coverage for clinical phases III or IV. Clinical trials help identify the best care for cancer patients and often lead to cures.
The bill represents the final piece of legislation Sen. Dougherty will handle over his 28-year legislative career due to term limits, which prevent him from serving longer.
The legislation also requires health insurers to charge only one co-payment on a prescription if the required single dosage is not available and a combination of dosage amounts must be dispensed to fill the prescription.
The bill, now set to take effect August 28, also offers more flexibility to employers when it comes to health care insurance coverage. Currently, employers may provide or contract for health insurance at a reduced premium rate for employees who do not smoke or use tobacco products. This act allows employers to provide or contract for health insurance at a reduced deductible level for such employees.

Today, Monday July 10, Governor Blunt will sign Senate Bill 616, sponsored by Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton. SB 616 repeals the terms "residential care facility I" and "residential care facility II" and replaces them with "residential care facility" and the newly created term “assisted living facility," respectively. Assisted living facilities contain services consisting of social models based on the premise that the resident's unit is his or her home. There are new definitions for "activities of daily living" which include eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, and walking and for "instrumental activities of daily living" which consist of preparing meals, shopping for personal items, medication management, managing money, using the telephone, housework, and transportation ability. There are also new definitions for "appropriately trained and qualified individuals," "community based assessment" and "social model of care."
This act prescribes requirements for assisted living facilities in order to accept or retain individuals. An individual in a facility must not require hospitalization or skilled nursing. The facility must employ a staff large enough and skilled enough to handle twenty-four hour care. The facility must also have a written plan for the protection of all residents in the event of a disaster. The signatures of an authorized representative of the facility and the resident or legal representative shall be contained in the individualized service plan. The facility must implement self-care and leisure activity programs.
The act repeals the requirement that residential care facilities can only admit persons who are capable mentally and physically of negotiating a normal path to safety under certain conditions. This acts now allows for an assisted living facility to accept or retain an individual with a physical, cognitive, or other impairment that prevents the resident from safely evacuating the residence with minimal assistance so long as the facility has sufficient staff present twenty-four hours a day to assist in evacuations and contains an individualized evacuation plan for such a resident. The facility shall also be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, an automated fire door system and smoke alarms compliant with national fire codes. This act also provides a licensed hospice exception to the pathway to safety provisions. For more information on SB 616, visit the following link:http://www.senate.mo.gov/06info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=116

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Latest Senate Bills Signed by Governor Blunt

Latest Senate Bills Signed by Governor Blunt

6/30 SB 583 Emissions inspection program Griesheimer
6/30 SB 1023 Modifies the laws relating to DNA Profiling Analysis and resulting restitution Gibbons
6/30 SB 1189 Creates the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission Gibbons
6/29 SB 667 Memorial Highways Engler
6/29 SB 701 Modifies educational assistance benefits for Missouri National Guard members Crowell
6/29 SB 749 Modifies minimum experience requirements for interior designer registration Engler
6/29 SB 756 Modifies requirements for licensing and registration of certain professionals Clemens
6/29 SB 819 Modifies licensure requirements for professional engineers and land surveyors Scott
6/29 SB 825 Investment District Koster
6/29 SB 828 Repeals the sunset provision for dental hygienists Scott
6/29 SB 830 Military Leave Ridgeway
6/29 SB 871 St. Louis City Retirement System Coleman
6/29 SB 872 "Move Over" Law Gibbons
6/29 SB 881 Land Conveyance Engler
6/29 SB 934 Barber shop licensure Engler
6/29 SB 980 Modifies the student loan program for nursing students Clemens
6/29 SB 990 Memorial Highways Vogel
6/29 SB 1017 State Milk Board Clemens
6/29 SB 1020 Fuel Storage Tanks Vogel
6/29 SB 1057 Physical Therapists Loudon
6/29 SB 1059 Officer Thomas G. Smith Jr. Memorial Highway Kennedy
6/29 SB 1060 Military Family Relief Kennedy
6/29 SB 1139 Sergeant William McEntee Memorial Highway Gibbons
6/29 SB 1177 Allows a local registrar to be an employee of either a county or city health agency Callahan
6/29 SB 1197 Allows sixteen-year olds to donate blood with parental permission Wheeler
6/29 SB 1216 Modifies the law relating to travel clubs Goodman