Dear Citizens: Despite a legislative session that was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers were able to work together to pass a number of important bills and send them to the governor for his approval. The abbreviated session saw only 51 pieces of legislation receive final approval from the General Assembly. This number is significantly reduced from the 2019 session, which saw 95 bills make it through the legislative process. While the final bill count for the 2020 session was diminished, the legislature still addressed several issues.
Some of the bills now on their way to the governor’s desk include:
COVID-19 Testing (HB 1682) – A piece of legislation approved this session is meant to provide free COVID-19 testing for those who need it. The bill would cover the cost of testing up to $150 if a health care provider recommends the test be done. The bill authorizes the Department of Health and Senior Services to utilize available federal funds to pay for the test.
Removing Prescription Requirement for Cold Medicine (HB 1682) – While the state of Missouri has no law requiring a prescription for cold medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, several counties and cities throughout the state have put such requirements in place. Legislation passed during the 2020 session would prohibit these local ordinances and regulations requiring prescriptions, and void existing requirements on August 28 of this year. The prohibition would expire if the state’s methamphetamine lab seizure incidents exceed 300 incidents in a year. The state has seen the number of meth-related incidents drop significantly in recent years, with only 50 incidents reported in 2018. The bill also changes the amounts that can be sold or dispensed to a person in a 30-day period without a prescription from a maximum of 9 grams to a maximum of 7.2 grams and adds an annual limit of 43.2 grams.
Remote Driver’s License Renewals (House Bill 1963) – Missourians will have the option to renew their driver’s license online thanks to a bill approved during the 2020 legislative session. The legislation authorizes the Department of Revenue to design and implement a remote driver’s license renewal system accessible through the Department’s website or through one or more self-service terminals located within the state. Drivers will be able to apply for no more than one consecutive renewal remotely, and would need to apply within six months before or after the license expires as required for conventional renewal. In lieu of the current vision test requirement, applicants for remote renewal would certify under penalty of law that their vision satisfies the legal requirements and that he or she has undergone an eye exam in the last 12 months.
Digital Driver’s Licenses (House Bill 1963) – A wide-ranging transportation bill passed during the 2020 session will give Missouri drivers the option to obtain a digital driver’s license in addition to a card-based license. The bill authorizes the Department of Revenue to design and implement a secure digital driver’s license. The digital license would be accepted for all purposes for which a card-based license is used.
Partial Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal (House Bill 1963) – A wide-ranging transportation bill approved by the General Assembly includes a partial repeal of the state’s motorcycle helmet law. Under the bill, motorcycle drivers 26 years and older could go helmetless if they have their own health insurance. Individuals under the age of 26 who operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle or motortricycle must wear a helmet when the vehicle is in motion.
My thoughts continue to be with each citizen and thanks go to all working on our behalf in our communities. My legislative assistant, Jeff, and I continue to be available to assist citizens regarding questions and expediting services. Contact us at 573-751-5388 or e-mail at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov.