On Friday May 15, the Missouri General Assembly gaveled out, marking the end of the 2020 legislative session. This session was far from normal. The Capitol was closed for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in fewer bills making it across the finish line. Of over 2,000 bills filed this session, 32 bills (excluding budget bills) were sent to the Governor.
DID YOU KNOW? The Missouri General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass a budget each year. Technically, that is all they are required to do.
Engagement during the legislative session looked different for us as well. Organizations and constituents were encouraged not to come to Jefferson City due to COVID-19, which meant we had to cancel our monthly “Cooking in the Capitol” series, where we invite legislators to cook with us as we highlight one of OFS’s innovative programs.
Still, despite session and our plans being interrupted by COVID-19, important nutrition and safety net-related bills were “truly agreed and finally passed” by the legislature and sent to the Governor to sign. Two of those bills directly impact our Community Food Partners and FreshRx program participants – HB 1711 and HB 1682.
- HB 1711 – Donation of Shelf-Stable Foods
HB 1711 is sponsored by Representative Tim Remole (R-Excello). It adds a definition for “shelf-stable” to state statute and closes a liability loophole for donations of shelf-stable foods, including shelf-stable venison. This bill further protects the food donations that Operation Food Search and Community Food Partners rely on to feed more than 200,000 people each month.
- HB 1682 – Medicaid Coverage for Postpartum Depression
HB 1682 is an omnibus bill sponsored by Representative David Wood (R-Versailles). One of the provisions requires Missouri to request federal government approval to extend Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum for new moms with postpartum depression or related mental health conditions. Food insecurity is linked to both physical and mental health outcomes. This bill will benefit our FreshRx moms and families by ensuring moms maintain access to appropriate mental health resources at this crucial time.
While regular session has ended in Missouri, Governor Parson might call a special session to address the uncertainty of the state budget. State revenue has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which may lead to more budget cuts.
To stay up-to-date on the latest news related to nutrition and safety net policy, follow @OFSFoodAdvocate on Twitter.
Sarah Ritter, Lyndsey Wilbers Cavender, and Trina Ragain
OFS Policy & Advocacy Team
Need a quick refresher about how a bill becomes a law? Check out Missouri Foundation for Health’s helpful diagram.