Municipal Elections Tomorrow: April 6th
You've heard the saying "all politics are local." School Board, city government and local policy questions are on the ballot for the April 6th election. Check your voting location and see a sample ballot at www.KCEB.org for Kansas City residents or www.JCEBMO.org for Jackson County voters outside of KC.
State Senate Endorses Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill
The years-long effort to adopt a statewide prescription drug monitoring program overcame a key hurdle on March 29 when the Missouri Senate granted a PDMP bill preliminary approval. Missouri holds the dubious distinction of being the only state in the nation that doesn’t have a statewide PDMP, a key tool to identify and reduce opioid abuse.
For eight straight years, PDMP legislation routinely passed the House of Representatives only to die in the Senate. But with the bill’s previous House sponsor now a senator, the bill started in the upper chamber this year. A second vote is required to advance the measure, Senate Bill 63, to the House.
Opponents of a statewide PDMP have steadily lost leverage over the years as many Missouri counties joined a PDMP network started by St. Louis County in response to the legislature’s continued inaction. Jackson County instituted its own program several years ago.
Medicaid Expansion Debate Continues
Missouri voters made a Constitutional amendment last year to correct years of inaction by the Republican run state legislature by expanding Medicaid. The House Budget Committee decided the will of the people was meaningless and refused to fund this measure, choosing instead to decline federal funds and continue to send our tax dollars to other states. The health of 270,000 Missouri citizens are on the line and it is not an exaggeration to say Republicans would rather watch them suffer.
There is optimism that the State Senate will adhere to the oath they swore when taking office and Medicaid expansion will be funded, but nothing is guaranteed with this legislature. Take a moment to hear from members of the House discussing this issue last Thursday and consider reaching out to your State Senator.
House Democratic Leaders Plead With Republicans To Do Their Job
Here is the House Democratic Caucus' evaluation on Medicaid expansion from last week:
The Missouri House of Representatives on April 1 passed a $32 billion state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year that defunds Medicaid in a last-ditch Republican attempt to block a constitutionally mandated expansion of the program’s eligibility threshold. House Democrats made multiple attempts to restore the funding during debate on March 30, but all but a handful of majority Republicans opposed their efforts.
Because the state constitution now requires Medicaid to cover adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, an estimated 275,000 additional Missourians will be eligible for the program starting July 1, and Republican opponents can do nothing at this point to stop it. But by refusing to authorize the necessary spending authority for the expansion, it could cause the program to exhaust its funding partway through the 2022 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost of expansion, or about $1.4 billion for FY 2022. In addition, Missouri would receive an additional $1.5 billion under the most recently passed COVID-19 relief bill for implementing expansion. Prominent business organizations, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, support accepting the funding because of the massive economic boost and job creation that would result from infusing that much new revenue into the state’s economy.
Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, included the additional Medicaid funding in his state budget proposal and acknowledged that health care savings resulting from expansion and increased the increased economic activity from the infusion of federal funds would be more than sufficient to cover the state’s share. If the Senate, also controlled by Republicans, doesn’t restore the funding and it isn’t in the final budget, a lawsuit to enforce the constitutional requirement is considered guaranteed.
The House’s version of the budget includes $2.27 billion less in spending authority than Parson requested, with the missing Medicaid funding accounting for most of it. The House also failed to include a number of other items requested by the governor, trimming about $32.5 million in spending for mental health services and more than $23 million for various education program.
The House budget does provide sufficient spending authority to claim full funding of the statutory formula for distributing state money to local public school districts. However, the budget underfunds K-12 school transportation funding by nearly $183 million from what state law says it should be.
The Senate will craft its own versions of the 13 appropriations bills that make up the operating budget in the coming weeks and is expected to be much more generous is allocating federal coronavirus relief funding that the House left unused. House and Senate negotiators must then hammer out a compromise budget for the two chambers to agree to by the May 7 deadline.
We Are Already Building Toward 2022 Now
Jackson County Democrats are well into launching a plan for our most important work of this election cycle: registering more voters, specifically in Kansas City's core and Independence.
Voter registration will be the biggest focus for 2021 and leads into our county wide turnout and persuasion efforts across the area. With legislative redistricting and a US Senate race, we can't waste the momentum Democrats are showing nationally, especially with the early success of the Biden Administration and popularity of the American Rescue Plan. With weather improving (perhaps this week aside) and life with in-person contact projected to get back to normal by mid summer, the clock for 2022 has started.
Show your commitment toward progress in 2022 by giving to our registration drive campaign. Funds received here will stay entirely in Jackson County and be used to find new voters and update registrations of lapsed voters. Missouri can look like Georgia soon and this is the best path to get there!
The Northland Democratic Club
will be meeting for the first time in 2021!
This will be a socially distant event and masks will be required.
(Pending local, county, state, CDC guidelines.)
When: Tuesday, April 20th , 6:30 pm
Where: The Groundhog Day Theater
6906 #B N. Oak Trafficway
Gladstone, MO 64118
Agenda: Election of Officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary
Please let me know if you or someone you know may be
interested in filling one of these positions.
I am pleased to report that I have received some membership
dues. Dues are $15 per year. Mail a check payable to NDC to:
1563 Smiley St
Liberty, MO 64068
The meetings will continue to be scheduled on the 3rd Tuesday of
the month. If you have any questions or concerns or if your
contact information (email/address/phone number) has changed.
Looking forward to seeing everyone!
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Support the MDP by Sticking It to Josh Hawley
Visit the Missouri Democratic Party's virtual store and help the rebuilding of our statewide campaign infrastructure.