Legislature Gives Final Approval to Spending Bill for Coronavirus Relief Efforts (HB 14)
Dear Citizens: A special session called by Governor Mike Parson to allocate nearly $1.3 billion in supplemental spending has concluded. This week the Senate gave final approval to the spending bill that started in the House. The legislation will provide access to Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, which is intended to provide additional resources to respond to COVID-19.
The bill, which was originally passed by the House in November, received strong bipartisan support in both chambers. The largest item in the nearly $1.3 billion spending plan is $764 million for the state’s efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Other items of note in the spending plan include:
• $140 million for testing, tracing, reporting and other expenses related to mitigating the virus.
• $96.8 million to transfer child support debt intercepted from federal stimulus payments to custodial parents who are due the money.
• $75.7 million for school food service programs that have been extended through the end of December.
• $34 million for assistance to businesses/employees participating in the Shared Work Program.
• $19.6 million for homeless prevention grants.
• $5.1 million in additional funds for ongoing long-term behavioral health effects in both adults and children caused by natural disasters in our state in 2018 and 2019.
• $93 million for ongoing pharmacy expenses in the Medicaid program due to increased utilization during the pandemic.
With the approval of the legislature, the bill now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. Passage of the bill marks the end of the legislature’s work during the special session. The governor had called for the session to be expanded to include legislation to provide liability protections for health care providers, manufacturers, businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations, among others. While the Senate had started work on the bill this week, Governor Parson asked the legislature to table discussion on the bill for now. The legislature will now take up the issue of COVID-19 liability protection when the regular session begins in January.
Bill Pre-Filing for the 2021 Legislative Session Begins – Tuesday, December 1 marked the first day legislators could introduce legislation for the upcoming session which will begin on January 6. The first day of bill pre-filing saw members of the Missouri House introduce their legislative priorities in near-record numbers on a wide variety of topics. To keep informed on the bills that are pre-filed in the House, please visit the official website of the Missouri House of Representatives at www.house.mo.gov and click on the “2021 Regular Session” link.