Senior Legislative Wrap – Up

The Missouri Legislature has officially ended its regular legislative session, and seniors won some key victories this year. There is still work to do, but here are some highlights from this session:

1. On Friday with 5 minutes to spare, the House passed the Senate amended HCB3. This bill establishes the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund. Excess revenue from various funds will be “swept” into this Senior Fund. The Fund will be allocated as follows:

* Brain Injury Wavier- $500,000 MSSPF
* Level of Care for HCBS LOC of 21 points from MSSPF
* HCBS Provider rate -restores 1.5% of the Governors 3% cut from MSSPF
* AAA’s Increase-$1,325,907 MSSPF
* Alzheimer’s Grants-$500,000 MSSPF
* Naturalization Assistance $200,000 MSSPF

Please take a moment to thank Rep. Richardson and Rep. Fitzpatrick for bringing this to the floor for a vote. And, of course, please thank those who did support it.

The HCB 3 has been sent to the Governor for his signature. The Office of Budget and Planning will need to determine how much money is actually available from this “sweep”.

This amended HCB3 protected the “circuit breaker” renters’ tax credit program.

But, we know that this fight will come up again next year, unless and until, the state addresses the revenue side of the equation. There is speculation that the Governor will call a special session to look at Missouri’s tax policy.

Public hearings of the Governor’s Commission on Simple, Fair and Low Taxes begins this week, Thursday May 17th, in Maryville (full list of meetings is below). It’s critically important to have a broad array of sectors represented at each of the public hearings who collectively voice support for positive changes we could make to strengthen the state’s tax policy and avoid further cuts in services.

Public Hearings – Governor’s Commission on Simple, Fair and Low Taxes
Confirmed Locations and Times

May 17 5:30-7:30 pm
JW Jones Student Union, NW Missouri State University
Boardroom
800 University Drive, Maryville, MO 64468

May 22 5:30-7:30 pm
Hannibal Nutrition Center
219 South 10th Street
Hannibal, MO 63401

June 2 5:30-7:30 pm
Osage Center
Room 1A
1625 North Kingshighway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

June 7 4:00-6:00 pm
Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Main Conference Room
202 South John Q. Hammons Pkway
Springfield, MO 65806

2. SB 139 reauthorized MoRx but only for those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Advocates are working with the Governor’s office to get that eligibility back to the original which also includes Medicare only participants. If this doesn’t work, we will have to advocate for this next session.

3. The Senior Development and Growth Program – SB 192/HB540. This year we advanced this legislation through the committees with unanimous support in each. A lot farther than we got last year. But there is still much work to be done so that next session we can push it over the finish line. The advocacy for this legislation was complicated this session by the considerable defense we had to mount to protect senior programs. Again, until we address the revenue side of the equation, this battle will continue.

FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT THE MISSOURI BUDGET, CLICK HERE FOR A REPORT FROM THE MISSOURI BUDGET PROJECT.

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