On Friday May 17th, the 2019 legislative session ended with its historical tossing of the papers in the House Chambers. ACT Missouri tracked 73 bills which included some oldies but goodies, as well as some new bills on the behavioral health horizon.
The following bills were “Truly Agreed and Finally Passed”:
- SB 275 modifies provisions relating to healthcare, and it includes information on dentists prescribing opioids, developing a Joint Committee on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, and numerous other components. It appears that at least three other bills were included in the final language.
- HB 547, which requires each judicial circuit to establish a Veteran’s Treatment Court, passed with several House and Senate Committee substitutes.
For 7 years, Representative Holly Rehder, Sikeston, has filed a PDMP bill. Although the Narcotics Control Act, HB 188, went all the way through the process and was placed on the informal Senate Calendar on April 23, it was not brought up for a final vote in the Senate. She shared some comments about its disappointing outcome, and this article provides a good summation of the obstacles in getting this legislation passed.
Rehder also sponsored HB 168 on safe syringe exchanges, and it passed the House Chamber 124 to 27, was referred to the Senate Health and Pensions Committee, but no hearings were held.
Representative Pike once again championed a bill that would add powdered alcohol to the current definition. On April 11, it passed through the House with a vote of 142 to 4 and was referred to the Senate General Laws Committee where it stalled.
Another alcohol related bill that enjoyed some traction was HB 250, sponsored by Nick Schroer. It would allow wholesalers to employee 18 year olds as supervised liquor delivery persons. It passed 148 to 3 in March by the House and had a hearing with the Senate General Laws Committee on May 7.
A couple of bills were filed limiting opioids prescribed by dentists. Coleman’s HB 628 was amended, passed the house, and was then second read and referred in the Senate.
Senator Sater filed SB 6, and it modifies provisions relating to controlled substances including the Schedules, medical marijuana, and criminal provisions. It passed through the Senate, was heard in the House, placed on the calendar, but not called up for a vote.
17 different marijuana bills were filed this session, but only two had any momentum. Representative Hicks’ HB 341, allowing certain marijuana offenses to be expunged if occurring prior to issuance of a patient card passed the House 94-55 in March and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and HB 829, sponsored by Wood, passed the house and was voted Do Pass out of Senate Health and Pensions.
On the behavioral health side, Senator Schupp’s 164, which modifies provisions relating to professional licensing hours of suicide, made it through the Senate and was placed on the House Calendar on the final day of session.
A bill designating May as Mental Health Awareness Month and July as Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, sponsored by Rep. Sommer, passed the House 149 to 2, and was later voted Do Pass out of the Senate Health Pensions Committee. McGirl’s HB 345, designating August 31 as “Random Acts of Kindness Day in Missouri” made it through the House 136 to 3, and was second read and referred to the Senate General Laws Committee.
ACT Missouri would like to thank everyone for their advocacy efforts this session. Please keep in mind that the best time to build rapport with your legislators is while they are in their home districts. Invite them to your coalition meetings and functions, add their emails to your list serve, follow and like them on their social media channels, attend functions where they will be speaking, and keep them in the loop about behavioral health topics in your community. They heavily rely on constituents for information and stories.