More than 60 bills passed through the Missouri General Assembly this year, and after receiving the signature from Missouri Governor Mike Parson, those bills have now become law, effective August 28, …
More than 60 bills passed through the Missouri General Assembly this year, and after receiving the signature from Missouri Governor Mike Parson, those bills have now become law, effective August 28, 2023. These new laws range across a wide variety of areas, from increasing access to healthcare, agriculture, public safety, broadband development and preparing Missouri’s workforce for the future.
Here is a look at some of the new laws:
Expanding Broadband Access
Senate Bill 25 provides federal broadband grants and income tax deductions for broadband grants to Missourians. This is part of the ongoing effort to expand broadband across the state, as the need for high-speed internet access has only continued to grow. We recognize the need for access to high-speed, quality internet these days, as the coronavirus pandemic proved to the world that technology is becoming more and more important in the fields of education, healthcare, and across the business industry. Missouri remains committed to expanding this vital tool to all corners of the state, and with the $1.7 billion in funds from the federal government, we are making the steps to address the lack of high-speed internet and take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for growth.
Honoring Missouri’s Fallen Heroes and Paying Our Dues
SB 139 also carries language creating the “FA Paul Akers Jr and LCPL Jared Schmitz Memorial Sign Funding Act”. Under this act, all of the costs associated with the designation of bridges or highways to honor our deceased veterans, servicemen and women, law enforcement officers or first responders who died in the line of duty, shall be paid by the Missouri Department of Transportation, as of August 28, 2023.
When Missouri’s legislators found out that the families of these heroic men and women were asked to pay for the memorial signs to honor their loved ones, sometimes to the tune of $3,000, the Missouri General Assembly rose to the task. We fought to ensure that we are not only giving these heroes the honor they deserve, but also making sure that their families are not left holding the bill as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. We, as a state, should be proud to offer to cover these costs in remembrance of their sacrifice. It is the least we can do for these families.
Expands Healthcare Access - HB 115 promotes individual choice in health care decisions through the elimination of unnecessary and burdensome regulations to allow patients to have direct access to physical therapy. The legislation would allow physical therapists with a doctorate of physical therapy or five years of clinical experience to evaluate and initiate treatment on a patient without a prescription or referral from an approved health care provider. The bill also states physical therapists must refer to an approved health care provider patients with certain conditions, including those with conditions beyond the scope of practice of physical therapy, as well as any patient who does not demonstrate measurable or functional improvement within ten visits or 30 days, whichever occurs first.
This new law allows Missourians to have direct access to physical therapists, negating the need for patients to visit a physician before they can make an appointment with a physical therapist. This costs the patient additional money and delays them from returning to their life before the injury.
Assistant Physicians - Currently, a requirement for licensure as an assistant physician is that the applicant must be a graduate of any medical school, as described in section 334.031. This bill provides that the applicant must be a graduate of a medical school accredited by certain organizations listed in the bill. This bill also limits an assistant physician to providing only primary care services and only to medically underserved rural or urban areas. Currently, they are authorized to also provide services in certain pilot project areas, this bill repeals that provision.
Pharmacists- This bill modifies several provisions relating to the administration of medications by pharmacists.
Advance Practice Registered Nurses - This bill modifies licensing and collaborative practice arrangements for APRNs. Collaborative practice arrangements between the APRN and the collaborating physician may waive geographic proximity requirements, as described in the bill, when the arrangement outlines the use of telehealth or, until August 28, 2025, when the APRN is providing services in a correctional center and is practicing within 200 miles by road of his or her collaborating physician. Additionally, an APRN can apply for a waiver for any other reason and it shall be granted within 45 days if the Board of Healing Arts and the Board of Nursing determine that adequate supervision exists.
Under the provisions of this bill, if an APRN provides care that includes the diagnosis and initiation of treatment for acutely or chronically ill or injured persons, the collaborating physician or designated physician must be present with the APRN for sufficient periods of time, at least once every two weeks, to participate in chart reviews and supervision.
The bill also allows an APRN to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances for hospice patients
Giving a Boost to Missouri agriculture
SB 138 is a legislative package aimed at addressing matters relating to our state’s agriculture industry. Under this new law, Missouri will boost the limit for tax credits used to sell and produce ethanol and biodiesel fuels from $4 million to $5.5 million. In addition to that, SB 138 also creates a tax credit for farmers who sell, lease, or participate in a crop-share arrangement with a future or beginning farmer.
The measure includes an opportunity to help prevent future floods from causing such devastation. The Flood Resiliency Program is designed to increase flood resiliency along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries, in addition to improving statewide flood forecasting and monitoring.
The new law also includes a provision that would increase the maximum weight requirements for log trucks from 52 tons to 54 tons, repeals the provisions that related to the regulation of industrial hemp, and establishes the Missouri Hardwood Product Promotion Fund to promote Missouri’s hardwood forest products. The new law also will forgive up to $30,000 worth of student loans for as many as 12 Missouri large animal vets.
New Special Committee Formed to Look Into Earnings Tax
The Missouri House of Representatives will have a new committee aimed at reviewing and evaluating earnings taxes in the state of Missouri. Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher announced the creation of the new Special Interim Committee on the Earnings Tax on August 28, which will be tasked at looking into the earnings tax across the state, with a primary focus placed on St. Louis’ earnings tax and its effect on the outlook for the region.
The Earnings tax is one percent tax on salaries, wages, commissions, tips and other compensation paid to a person that lives or works in a designated city, such as St. Louis or Kansas City.
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