What's Happening Report
June 1, 2020

Hello!

Last week was worse than horrible. Images of George Floyd 's terrible death were inescapable. Protests across the country started as Black people and their allies crying for justice turned to them expressing their trauma, but anarchists and white supremacists took advantage of the protests to create chaos and property damage in many communities.

Violence that happened at these protests is awful. It is also a reaction. It is important that I, as a White person, attempt to understand the pain felt by Black communities and the structures of oppression. Until leaders acknowledge that trauma and address it, we will continue to see massive protests. Increasing force to command compliance only increases the trauma.

If you have not already voted, I encourage you to vote on Tuesday. There are city council races and school board races, along with several propositions on the ballot. St. Louis City does not have an election on Tuesday, but St. Louis County does. Please do your research and vote. And if you are not a registered voter, register so that you can vote in August and November.

Bills were sent to the governor this week. I expect him to decide whether to sign SB 631, which deals with elections, this week. He has until mid-July to sign or veto all bills.
Bill of the Week
SJR 38 (Dirty Missouri)

I took a magnifying glass to SJR 38 this week.

This bill will place Missouri's redistricting process on the ballot in November. In 2018, 62% of Missouri (including 72% of voters in District 91) voted for Clean Missouri, which puts a nonpartisan demographer in charge of the redistricting process. SJR 38 eliminates that and has partisans drawing lines.

Even more nefarious, the bill changes the process from an apportionment process (indicating that districts are supposed to have proportional representation) to a redistricting process, and it draws districts on the basis of one person one vote.

One person, one vote is a good policy when applied to civil rights. However, when applied to drawing districts, this means districts with higher immigrant populations or higher numbers of children will have more people in them than districts with a majority of older citizens. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution specifically prohibits Congressional seats from being allocated in this way.

SJR 38 also eliminates the $5 gift limit so that legislators and their staff cannot take any lobbyist gifts, and it reduces (slightly) campaign donation limits. In my opinion, these are gift wrappings designed to deceive voters about the true purpose of the bill.

When you vote in November, you will help decide whether SJR 38 becomes law for Missouri.

Elections Information

June 2 elections are coming up! You can vote absentee at the elections board until 5 PM today. Absentee ballots must be returned to the Elections Board by 7:00 PM tomorrow ,Tuesday, June 2. If you choose to vote in person, the polls are open tomorrow, June 2, from 6 AM - 7 PM. Please note that polling places have been consolidated.

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. I believe the governor will decide whether to sign that bill this week.

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 .

My intern this summer is Logan, an incoming sophomore at Webster Groves High School.

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 2001 —Appropriations
●      HB 2002 —Appropriations
●      HB 2003 —Appropriations
●      HB 2004 —Appropriations
●      HB 2005 —Appropriations
●      HB 2006 —Appropriations
●      HB 2007 —Appropriations
●      HB 2008 —Appropriations
●      HB 2009 —Appropriations
●      HB 2010 —Appropriations
●      HB 2011 —Appropriations
●      HB 2012 —Appropriations
●      HB 2013 —Appropriations
●      HB 2014 —Appropriations
●      HB 2105 —Appropriations
●      HB 2017 —Appropriations
●      HB 2018 —Appropriations
●      HB 2019 —Appropriations
●      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