What's Happening Report
May 25, 2020
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Hello!

Happy Memorial Day! Today we honor the brave servicemen and women who have died for our country.

I would also like to take a moment to remember the over 100,000 Americans who have died this year from Covid. That is a staggering number, and a great loss.

Finally, I thank you for your efforts to slow the spread of this deadly virus by staying home, wearing masks, and social distancing. It is a sacrifice, especially for children who are missing important moments of childhood, workers who are out of work and faced with an uncertain future, and people who are distanced from loved ones in times of struggle. But without our collective sacrifice, we would have many more deaths and more difficulties containing this outbreak.

Over the coming weeks, I will be digging into the bills that passed this year so you have more information about them. I am taking a Memorial Day break but plan to have information next week about SJR 38 (Unclean Missouri) and SB 600.

We expect the House will send all bills to the Governor this Wednesday, May 27. The governor has not yet signed any bills, including SB 631, which deals with elections.
Elections Information

June 2 elections are coming up! The deadline has passed for applying for absentee ballots, but you can vote absentee at the elections board until Monday, June 1. If you are mailing a ballot, it is due at the Elections Board by 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 2.

SB 631 will authorize mail-in ballots for the August and November elections. It also increased the filing fees to run for office and it gives the Secretary of State subpoena power for investigating election fraud.

How and whether you can vote by mail or be required to have your ballot notarized is currently a question before the Missouri Supreme Court, and I believe it will be decided before June 23.

COVID-19 Information

Missouri's stay at home order has been lifted, and we are now under a social distancing order . St. Louis City and County are also under less restrictive orders now.

Covid-19 is a very serious illness, and over 5.5% of those diagnosed in Missouri have died. There is a push to end stay-home orders, but this virus is waiting us out.

Governor Parson does a daily briefing at 3:00, which is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GovMikeParson/videos/ . You do not have to be on Facebook to see them.

Please keep talking about hand washing , what social distancing means, and cleaning and disinfecting .

Missourians in need during COVID-19 can find information about essential services available through the online  Missouri Services Navigator  system. This resource offers instant access to available programs and services such as school meal programs for students, food banks, child care, diaper banks, counseling and organizations that assist with housing, transportation or utilities issues. There are currently over 2,000 services listed, with new services added daily. Users can search by keyword, location and/or service. Every program and service contains a map of the location as well as contact information.

If you or your business needs help, my office stands ready to help.

The Missouri House Democratic Caucus has put forth recommendations for what the state can do to address the Covid-19 crisis. You can see them at https://www.molegdems.com/covid19.
Fixing Missouri's Medicaid system is an issue I have been concerned about for a long time and have spoken about in past newsletters. The Federal Families First act gives additional matching funds to states for Medicaid, but one of the conditions of these funds is that they do not cut anyone off Medicaid during this crisis. The good news is, Missouri will not cut anyone off Medicaid during this crisis. Also, if you are diagnosed with Covid-19 and meet the Medicaid criteria for a person with a disability (no more than 85% of Federal Poverty Level; asset limit of $4,000 for individuals or $8,000 for families), you can get Medicaid for 90 days .

I looked at Medicaid numbers for April, and the total number of people on Medicaid has increased by 6.5% this year.
My office has published a consumer guide but will not be sending it to the district. We have had a small number printed to make available to constituents, please contact my office if you would like a copy . The consumer guide is ava ilable thr ough my website from the "District Publication" button.

I am working to build a coalition of people with disabilities in my district . If you have a disability and would like to help advise me on disability issues, please let me know . The concept of "nothing about us without us" is important to me and needs to be part of all policy making, especially relating to people with disabilities.
Medical Bills
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If you have received a surprise medical bill, I would like to hear your story. Please e-mail me with the subject "surprise bill" or call my office at
573-751-1285 to tell us your story.

The Department of Insurance is available to advocate for customers who think they have been taken advantage of. You can call their consumer helpline at 573-751-4126 to get help on insurance matters.
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with proper documentation . Please note that the Federal government requires a copy of this documentation be kept for several years. You can go to the DMV and request a replacement for your current license with the Real ID for a $5 processing fee.  If you renew your license at the time of the request you will be charged the renewal fee. You need a RealID compliant Identification Card to board an airplane and enter federal buildings; Missouri issued Identification Cards (including drivers' licenses) will be accepted in lieu of RealID until October 1, 2021 . Some military bases require individuals to present a RealID. For more information about RealID, go to dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-information/ .

According to the federal Real ID Act, states must retain paper copies of source documents for a minimum of 7 years, and images/microfiche of source documents for at least 10 years, after which point they are to be irretrievably destroyed. Missouri statute complies with this requirement and permits the Department of Revenue to keep these documents within a system not connected to the internet or accessible by any other state or the federal government.

When you get a RealID, please note that the state is required to keep a digital copy of your data for ten years. If you are using a document with private information for identification, like a bank statement, I believe you can redact that information before they scan it.
Census Update
Wednesday, April 1, was Census Day! If you have not completed the census, I encourage you to complete it as soon as possible. In a normal Census year, the census hires individuals to go door-to-door to help people complete the census. Social distancing complicates this exponentially.

If you have any problems completing the census, my office will be happy to help.
Capitol Construction

The Missouri Capitol remains under construction, but it is starting to open up! The protective sheeting around the Capitol is being removed, and the stone underneath is beautiful. Many streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. The Capitol Dome is also closed. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

You can take a virtual tour!

Here is a 30-minute virtual tour of the art of our Capitol that was produced by Ozarks Public Television a few years ago. Here is the link:

Stately Images - The Public Art of Missouri's State Capitol

Also, House Communications produced a virtual Capitol dome tour that highlights our famous whispering gallery and the view from the top of the building. Here is the link:

Nancy and I will not be meeting people or answering phones in the office, but we will return phone calls and e-mails. You may call at 573-751-1285 or e-mail at sarah.unsicker@house.mo.gov .

I had two interns this year: Abby, from the University of Missouri, and Noelle, from Washington University's Brown School. They have been incredibly helpful to my office.

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It's one of the best parts of my job!
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Sarah
Representative Sarah Unsicker
91st District
Leadership
I serve as policy chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
Committees
The committees I am on are:
  • Children and Families (Ranking member)
  • Rules - Legislative Oversight (Ranking member)
  • Health and Mental Health Policy
  • Subcommittee on Healthcare Reform
  • Joint Committee on Public Assistance
Bills Passed(2020)

HB 1330— Authorizes the conveyance of certain state property

HB 1386— Modifies provisions relating to lobbyists

HB 1387— Establishes the “Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act”

HB 1414— Modifies provisions relating to the protection of children

HB 1467— Modifies provisions relating to Missouri LAGERS

HB 1511— Modifies provisions relating to professional licensing reciprocity

HB 1655— Modifies provision for Secretary of State

HB 1682— Prohibits vapor product usage in indoor areas of public schools or on school buses

HB 1711— Allows shelf stable packaged food to be donated to and distributed by charitable organizations

HB 1768— Modifies provisions relating to communications services

HB 1854— Modifies provisions relating to political subdivisions

HB 1896— Adds provisions relating to background checks in the medical marijuana industry

HB 1963— Modifies provisions of the “Missouri Public-Private Partnership Transportation Act” to include a tube transport system

HB 2046— Modifies Provisions relating to professional registration

HB 2120— Establishes provisions relating to water safety and security

HB 2456— Modifies provision relating to reimbursement allowance taxes

SB 551— Modifies provisions relating to regulation of certain personal lines insurances services

SB 569-- Modifies provisions relating to victims of sexual offenses

SB 591— Modifies provisions relating to civil actions, including punitive damages and unlawful merchandising                  practices

SB 599— Changes the law regarding financial instruments

SB 600— Modifies provisions relating to dangerous felonies

SB 631— Modifies restrictions on the political activity of certain state employees       

SB 644— Modifies law regarding service animals

SB 653— Modifies provisions relating to the protection of children

SB 656— Modifies provisions relating to veterans

SB 676— Modifies provisions relating to taxation

SB 718— Modifies provisions relating to military affairs

SB 739— Prohibits public bodies from entering into certain contracts

SB 782— Modifies provisions relating to transportation

SB 913— Removes the expiration of the peer review process for architects, landscape architects, land surveyors,        and engineers

SCR 32— Urges the Missouri Congressional delegation to support legislation for the declassification of POW/MIA records

SCR 38— Disapproves the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Commission’s recommendations regarding the fees and taxes of the Hazardous Waste Management Commission.

SJR 38— Modifies provisions regulating the legislature to limit the influence of partisan or other special interests

Representative Sarah Unsicker
573-751-1285
Missouri Capitol, Room 135B-C
Paid for by Sarah Unsicker for State Representative, Dan Flaxbart, Treasurer