In his proposed budget, President Barack Obama wants to delay cuts to federal payments to hospitals, keeping the payments intact for an extra year. That could affect the debate over expanding Medicaid in Missouri.
Through what’s called the disproportionate share hospital payments or DSH payments, the federal government gives money to hospitals that provide a lot of free care to patients who are uninsured and can’t afford services. The Affordable Care Act, though, includes significant cuts to DSH payments.
In November we told you about the debate in the Missouri legislature over including sexual orientation and gender identity in the Human Rights act. It would offer protection to make sure LGBT aren’t discriminated for housing and employment discrimination. There are two groups trying to achieve the same goal in two different ways. One organization is trying to get the state legislature to change policy, while another wants to leave the decision to voters on the ballot in 2014.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:51 pm
Missouri’s budget for the next fiscal year has been passed by the State House.
While Medicaid expansion has dominated most of the debate, spending hikes were approved in other areas. There’s an extra $65 million for K-12 schools, although the increase still falls short of fully funding the state’s public school formula. Republican Mike Lair of Livingston County chairs the Appropriations committee on Education.
The Missouri House will begin debate Tuesday on the 13 bills that make up next year’s state budget.
The three bills that encompass the state’s Medicaid program don’t include Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) proposed expansion, although House Democrats may try to offer amendments to change that. Budget chairman Rick Stream (R, Kirkwood) says the state should have more of a say in how Medicaid dollars are handled.
Missouri power companies would track costs for operations and maintenance for their next rate case under proposed state legislation.
The new tracker would be used to compare the difference between the costs factored into electric rates and the expenses actually incurred. The differences would be included in the calculation for electric rates when the utility files its next case with the Public Service Commission.
Legislation in the Missouri House would permanently adopt Daylight Saving Time as the new Standard Time, but only if 20 other states also agree to do so.
House Bill 340 would create a pact with other states to “eliminate” Daylight Saving Time by renaming it the new “Standard Time.” And once 20 or more states join the pact, they’ll spring forward one hour and permanently remain there. It’s sponsored by State Representative Delus Johnson (R, St. Joseph).
The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a measure that supporters say will help protect farmers. The proposed state constitutional amendment would prohibit laws that limit what it calls modern farming and ranching practices unless they're passed by the Legislature. The measure would add that the right to engage in modern farming and ranching practices are "forever guaranteed."
House members endorsed the measure Wednesday. It needs another vote before moving to the state Senate. If it passes the Legislature, the amendment would go to a statewide vote.
Missouri lawmakers are looking for ways to collect taxes from some online and out-of-state retailers. State budget officials estimate that Missouri could gain about $10 million annually in tax revenues if legislation filed in both the House and Senate were to pass.
The bills address two areas that traditional retail stores contend put them at a disadvantage. One provision would require Missouri taxes to be collected on out-of-state retailers that personally deliver products like furniture and appliances to Missouri homes.
Missouri legislators are cutting their work week short because of concerns about a winter storm.
The House and Senate usually meet from Monday until mid-day Thursday each week. But the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from late Wednesday through Thursday for most of Missouri. The forecast calls for a mixture of ice and snow, depending on the location.
Advocates for child sex abuse victims are urging the Missouri Legislature to renew a funding increase for their social services.
At issue is an increase of more than 20 percent in funding for child assessment centers that was included in the 2013 budget. That $500,000 increase brought the total funding for the centers to $2.8 million. The centers conduct forensic interviews and sexual assault exams on children that can help make a legal case against their perpetrators.
The proposed constitutional amendment would create a one-cent sales tax that would expire after 10 years. It’s co-sponsored by State Senator Mike Kehoe (R, Jefferson City). He says the one-penny tax would not be levied on groceries, prescription medicine or fuel.