Dear Citizens: Members of the Missouri House and Senate are scheduled to return to the State Capitol building on April 27 to resume the 2020 legislative session. Legislators will be focusing their efforts on crafting the Fiscal Year 2021 state operating budget, which must be approved by May 8 in accordance with the Missouri Constitution.
During this unprecedented time, the legislative body has worked to balance the health and safety of members, staff, and visitors with a constitutional obligation to pass a budget. The decision to move forward on April 27 was not an easy one, however it is absolutely critical for the people of Missouri that state government services are kept going without interruption. The intervening time will be used to monitor the trajectory of Missouri’s coronavirus cases as well as assess the impact of newly-issued federal guidance and disaster funds on the state budget.
Lawmakers suspended the legislative session in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They returned on April 8 to pass a $6 billion supplemental appropriations bill and emergency aid package for the current Fiscal Year 2020 state operating budget. While they were in the building, legislators and staff followed all recommended protocols to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. House and Senate leaders said the General Assembly will continue to follow the appropriate safety protocols when session resumes on April 27.
The General Assembly will continue to adhere to social distancing and infection mitigation procedures when members return. Committee hearings and legislative proceedings will remain open to the public and their testimony. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines and participate in the legislative process electronically when possible. Anyone interested in observing the legislative process can visit the Missouri House of Representatives website at https://house.mo.gov/. The House provides video streams of all floor proceedings and most committee hearings.
New Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program – The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has released the following press release that details the status on the implementation of the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which covers people not normally covered by Unemployment Insurance, such as self-employed people and independent contractors.
Highlights of the Press Release:
• The Division of Employment Security (DES) expects to begin processing PUA claims as early as the week of April 19, 2020.
• Once PUA is operational, DES will contact individuals who have determined to be ineligible for regular unemployment benefits because of insufficient wages.
• The PUA will be retroactive to when an individual was negatively affected by COVID-19, but the individual will need to provide proof.
• If you are not covered by normal Unemployment Insurance and would like to file for PUA, please do so online at https://uinteract.labor.mo.gov/benefits/home.do
• You will likely receive a notice that you are not an insured worker because you are not covered under the regular unemployment insurance system. In order to be eligible for the PUA program, a claimant must first be determined ineligible for regular unemployment, so that is OK.
• Once you have filed, simply monitor your UInteract account, especially the correspondence tab, as well as your email, because DES will reach out to you once PUA is operational.
• The correspondence will instruct you to log back into UInteract to answer PUA questions and provide proof of employment and earnings. DES will not ask you to email personal identifying information.
• Check for additional information on unemployment by visiting labor.mo.gov/coronavirus, watch how-to videos at labor.mo.gov/des/videos, check for correspondence and claim status at uinteract.labor.mo.gov and ask unemployment questions of the Department’s virtual assistant at labor.mo.gov.
2020 Census – Make sure to remember to fill out the 2020 census. For every adult and every child that is not counted in the census, our state will lose $1,300 in federal dollars every year. When every Missourian is counted, we get more money for roads and bridges, hospitals, and schools. https://census.mo.gov/
My office is working remotely and we are available to assist you at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or by calling 573-751-5388. My thoughts continue to be with our citizens and communities.