Abortion, state retirements among subjects of state legislation

Steve Chapman

The Missouri State Legislature passed 15 house and senate bills which were ultimately signed into law by Governor Mike Parson during the 2019 Missouri State Legislative Session. The laws covered a variety of topics ranging from the widely-discussed, such as abortion and Missouri state employees’ retirements, to the routine, such as naming highways and appropriating funds.
Among the house bills, perhaps the most-widely discussed was House Bill 126, which modified several provisions in state law relating to abortion.
One provision of the law regards pregnancy resource centers. According to a summary of the legislation, the law “modifies the definition of pregnancy resource centers for the purposes of the pregnancy resource center tax credit to include facilities that provide assistance to women and families with crisis pregnancies or unplanned pregnancies by offering services specified in the act.” The law also increases the tax credit “from fifty percent of the amount contributed to seventy percent” beginning Jan. 1, 2021, removes the cumulative amount of tax credits claimed by all taxpayers in a fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, and removes the sunset provision.
The law also established the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child” act, the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” and the “Late-Term Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Under the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act,” performing an abortion for any reason other than a medical emergency is a Class B felony, and the person performing or inducing the abortion also faces suspension or revocation of their professional licenses.
The “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” prohibits abortions at “eight weeks, fourteen weeks, or eighteen weeks gestational age or later, except in cases of medical emergency.” Violation of these provisions would be a Class B felony, and the person who performs the abortion would also face revocation or suspension of their professional license, but the woman who receives the abortion would not be prosecuted. Also, women seeking an abortion must be provided with “written information … regarding the capability of an unborn child at twenty-two weeks gestational age to respond to certain stimuli.”
The “Late-Term Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” defines a “late-term pain-capable unborn child” as “an unborn child at twenty weeks gestational age or later” and prohibits an abortion from being performed on any woman carrying such a child, except in the case of a medical emergency.
The law also states that if an abortion is being carried out on a woman carrying a late-term pain-capable unborn child in her third trimester, that “the physician shall utilize the available method or technique that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, or if such method is not available, the method or technique that offers less risk to the life and health of the mother.” The physician who performs the abortion is required to document in writing the technique used, and why it was selected. Also, another physician must be present during the procedure “to provide immediate care to the child “born as the result of the procedure.” Violations of these provisions are a Class D felony, and the physician can face suspension or revocation of their professional license.
 Regarding pregnant girls under the age of 18, HB 126 requires physicians to get the consent of the girl and at least one custodial parent or guardian, except in the case of a medical emergency.
Also, HB 126 prohibits discriminatory abortions due to the child possibly having Down Syndrome or based on the child’s race or gender, and requires in-state abortion facilities or family planning agencies to provide “specified printed materials when providing to a woman considering an abortion the name, address, telephone number, or website of an abortion provider who or which is located out of state.”
Also passed was House Bill 77. Under state law, anyone retired from the Public Schools Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) can work and earn up to 60-percent of the statutory minimum teacher salary with no disruption to their pension. This bill was signed into law by Parson on April 16.
Another house bill that was passed was House Bill 14, which appropriates money for supplemental purposes for the several departments and offices of state government. This bill was signed into law by Parson on April 17.
On June 6, Parson signed House Bill 694 into law. HB 694 modifies provisions relating to background checks, and extends the expiration of a criminal court surcharge for the DNA Profiling Analysis fund.
HB 694 also allows the Department of Social Services and the circuit courts “to fingerprint applicants for purposes of adoptions, guardians, conservators, advocates and personal representatives over minors, incapacitated, elderly or disabled individuals.” The fingerprints can then be used to run state and federal background checks, and any criminal records discovered will “be made available to the entity that requested the background check.”
Gov. Parson also signed four more house bills into law on June 6. House Bill 182, which specifies payments made voluntarily by insurance companies are subject to an interest rate not to exceed nine-percent a year; House Bill 448 designates “the portion of U.S. 61/67/50/Lindbergh Boulevard from the Interstate 55 interchange continuing north to Lin Ferry Drive in St. Louis County as ‘Rep. Cloria Brown Memorial Highway’”; House Bill 655 modified the provisions for the killing of feral hogs by adding the definition of “landowners agent” for the purpose of stating “who may take, attempt to take, or kill a feral hog with the use of an artificial light;” and House Bill 812, which designated the portion of U.S. Highway 50 from Business 50 east to the interchange with PCA Road in Johnson County the “Trooper John N Greim Memorial Highway” and the portion of State Highway 33 from State Highway A continuing to South Street in Clinton County the “Trooper Fred L Walker Memorial Highway.”
Seven senate bills were also signed into law during the legislative session. On May 24, Parson signed Senate Bill 21 into law. The bill added the cities of Portageville, Riverside and Fayette to a list of cities authorized to propose a sales tax of no more than one-half of one-percent for the purposes of improving public safety. It also modified the City Sales Tax Act to allow cities to propose a sales tax of up to one-percent for general city purposes.
A week later, Parson signed Senate Bill 391 into law, which establishes the Joint Committee on Agriculture. According to bill’s summary, the committee will “study the economic impact of Missouri’s agricultural industry in the state, the agricultural industry’s ongoing efforts to improve environmental stewardship while improving the economic sustainability of Missouri agriculture, ways to create incentives to encourage members of the agricultural industry to adopt best practices to scientifically address Missouri’s carbon footprint, and Missouri residents’ views on agricultural issues.” The committee will dissolve on Jan. 15, 2024.
Also, SB 391 prohibits county commissions and county health center boards from imposing regulations on an agricultural operation which are more stringent than “any provisions of law, rules, or regulations relating to the Department of Health and Senior Services, environmental control, the Department of Natural Resources, air conservation, and water pollution.”
Additionally, SB 391 increases the required distance for informing property owners of intent to file an application for an operating permit for a new or expanded facility for concentrated animal feeding operations. Before, it was required that property owners with one-and-a-half times the buffer distances for the operation be notified of the intent to file; SB 391 triples that distance. It also prohibits construction on a new or expanded facility without a permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources.
The remaining five senate bills were signed into law by Parson on June 6. Senate Bill 84 extends the sunset date on certain geologic resources fees from Dec. 31, 2020, to December 31, 2025.
Senate Bill 134 repeals the authority of the Director of the Department of Natural Resources to “institute a civil action for injunctive relief to prevent violations concerning a solid waste disposal area.” It also extends the expiration date on the fee imposed on the sale of new tires within the state from Jan 1., 2020 to Dec. 31, 2025.
Senate Bill 185 allows all employees of the Missouri Housing Development Commission and of the Environmental Improvement Energy Resource Authority to have membership in the Missouri State Employees Retirement System.
Finally, Senate Bill 197 extends a provision of state law that “pertains to leases of portable refrigeration units between brewers and retailers” from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2026. It also permits employees of a licensed wholesaler who are between the ages of 18 and 20 to “to unload delivery vehicles and transfer intoxicating liquor into a retail licensed premise under the supervision of a delivery vehicle driver who is at least 21 years of age.”
The Missouri Legislature adjourned their 2019 session on May 29. During the session, the Senate read 518 bills, and the House had first readings on 1,366 bills.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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