What we’re watching this week in Missouri Legislature: federal stimulus funding, state finances and staff compensation points (AUDIO)

The federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 testimony of stimulus dollars, alternatives to Medicaid expansion, and worker compensation for firefighters and first responders will be highlighted in Missouri legislation in Jefferson City this week.

Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs) speaks on the floor of Missouri House in Jefferson City on March 18, 2020 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel of House Communications).

The 2021 meeting has about a month left. The last day of the meeting is Friday, May 14th.

A brand new Missouri House federal incentive spending subcommittee will meet for the first time in Jefferson City on Monday morning. They will arrive at 11am. Committee chairman, Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs), is humble at the appointment.

“There is a committee that will be doing some very important work to review both the priorities and the need for these pending federal incentive dollars,” says Richey.

The subcommittee will hear testimony on Monday about the need for capital improvements that could be considered as part of the rescue plan for government stimulus programs. President Joe Biden (D) signed the bill, and House Budget Committee chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) said he expected Missouri to receive billions of dollars in federal funding.

“There will be an opportunity to allocate multiple one-time funds to capital improvements and deferred maintenance that we know exist across the state,” says Richey.

He tells Missourinet that examples include universities, public safety, mental health, and hospitals and state buildings.

Chairman Richey emphasized the importance of due diligence. He tweeted Saturday that “the American bailout plan is not being funded by taxpayers’ money, but rather by taxpayer debt.”

The Medicaid expansion problem will also re-emerge in the legislature this week.

The Missouri House Budget Committee is expected to vote on Chairman Smith’s budget on Tuesday, a plan that will allocate the dollars earmarked for Medicaid expansion to other programs, including MO HealthNet. This is the government’s Medicaid program.

Smith outlined the plan last week. House Bill 21, an eight-page bill, is just over $ 1 billion. Of that, $ 894 million would come from federal funds.

Funding includes $ 26 million for programs such as relief care, adult day care, and home-cooked meals. Chairman Smith says the funding also includes $ 88.2 million to fund long-term care services for care in nursing homes. HB 21 also includes $ 18 million for k-12 public school transportation and $ 2 million for adult high schools. It also includes $ 11.6 million for alcohol and drug abuse treatment and $ 2.2 million for youth programs. In addition, approximately $ 1 million of additional funding will be made available for the state defense system.

Rep. Robert Sauls (D-Independence) speaks on the floor of Missouri House in Jefferson City on March 31, 2021 (photo courtesy Tim Bommel of House Communications).

The House Democrats on the Budgets Committee are expected to oppose the plan. 53 percent of Missouri voters approved the Medicaid expansion in August. Regardless of the vote in committee, the issue will almost certainly be raised again in Parliament soon.

The Missouri House Public Safety Committee will meet Tuesday morning to hear Rep. Robert Sauls (D-Independence) legislation providing for worker compensation for firefighters and first responders.

Sauls’ House Bill 863 would allow firefighters and first responders in Missouri to receive compensation for cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, diseases of the body system or organs due to cancer, and diseases of the lungs or respiratory tract.

Across the other side of the Missouri Senate Capitol Rotunda, the chamber is expected to pass laws that will involve mechanical contractors earlier this week. Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) announced to Missourinet that he expects his Senate Act 11 to speak on Monday.

Schatz’s bill is called the Missouri Statewide Mechanical Contractor Licensing Act. Under the law, the nationwide mechanical license for mechanical contractors would be governed by the Professional Registration Department within the State Department of Commerce and Insurance. The invoice creates the office for mechanical contractors within the department.

Pro Tem Schatz also says that education reform legislation could go to the Senate this week.

Click here to hear Brian Hauswirth’s four-minute interview with the Missouri House Subcommittee on Federal Chairman of Stimulus Spending Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, taped April 9, 2021:


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