2022 Missouri Legislative Wrap Up

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned for the year on May 13, 2022. Prior to the 2022 session, the Jackson County Health Department outlined policy priorities. We take a brief look at what was accomplished during this session below.

Met Policy Goal

Partially Met Policy Goal

Didn’t Meet Policy Goal

1. Preserve and support an experienced, well-funded public health workforce

Increase or maintain funding to both DHSS and local health department programs

The Missouri General Assembly allocated $2.9 billion in funding for DHSS, including $155 million for LPHAs.

Allow local public health leaders and local officials to make the necessary and timely decisions based on evidence and science to protect the health of their community

While there were a number of bills introduced that would have restricted local authority to protect public health, only 2 passed. One states that public employees cannot be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment; the other restricts hospital and long-term care facilities’ visitation restrictions.

2. Increase affordable housing availability; increase support for low-income renters

Use the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program to encourage affordable housing near green spaces, public transportation, healthy food, and other resources

Using the LIHTC program as a way to encourage more affordable, healthy housing is a newer approach to affordable housing policy, but so far has not gained any traction in Missouri, and no relevant bills were introduced.

Increase funding to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the Missouri Housing Trust Fund

Multiple bills related to the LITHC program were introduced but did not see any movement.

3. Prevent substance use crises

Preserve the ability of local governments to regulate tobacco and vaping products

State preemption laws allow the state government to limit or eliminate local authority to regulate a specific issue. A bill that would preempt local tobacco ordinances was introduced in the Senate this year but did not make it out of committee.

Legalize needle exchange programs

A bill to legalize needle exchange programs to mitigate the health risks associated with unsterile injection drug use was introduced again this year. Similar bills have been introduced in 2019, 2020, and 2021. This year, the bill was passed out of the Senate and the House before stalling in the final week of the session when the Senate would not accept the changes made in conference.

Declassify fentanyl strips as drug paraphernalia

Fentanyl strips are currently considered drug paraphernalia under Missouri law. Fentanyl strips are an important harm reduction tool to reduce the risk of an overdose. Language that would have declassified fentanyl strips was added to the needle exchange program bill from Senator Rehder this year. The bill did not pass (see above).

4. Increase access to affordable healthy foods, and increase opportunities for physical activity

Create tax incentives for grocery stores, community gardens, urban farms, etc. to locate in food deserts

Multiple bills were introduced in both chambers that would have created tax credits for urban farms or grocery stores located in a food desert. While some of these bills were passed out of committee, none were able to make it to the House or Senate floor. A bill that will allow a tax credit of up to $5,000 for establishing or improving an urban farm passed, but it did not include incentives to locate in a food desert.

Reduce burden for SNAP program recipients/increase accessibility of SNAP program

A bill that would have allowed SNAP benefits to be used at some restaurants successfully made it out of the Senate before failing to pass out of its House committee in the final week of session.

5. Increase access to maternal, prenatal, postpartum, and reproductive healthcare

Expand postpartum care under Medicaid

Bills that would have extended Medicaid coverage for postpartum women through 12 months after birth were stalled in both the Senate and the House. Similar language was added to separate Senate bills in the final weeks but was taken out in conference. To learn more about how Medicaid benefits women of reproductive age, read our 2021 policy report on Medicaid and Reproductive Health.

Ensure access to reproductive healthcare including STD testing and treatment, birth control, etc.

The Missouri General Assembly allocated funding for sexual health testing, treatment, and prevention. The funding also included stipulations in the budget on where patients on Medicaid may go to receive such services. Specifically, the budget bills specified that patients on Medicaid cannot receive services from Planned Parenthood.

Reduce or eliminate financial burden for feminine hygiene products

While multiple bills were introduced, including Rep. Martha Steven’s bill to require schools to provide period products for the third year in a row, these bills once again saw very little traction. Most were not referred to a committee in their respective chamber. The General Assembly did, however, include $1 million in funding for schools to purchase period products. This should be enough funds to provide products for all menstruating students in grades 6 to 12 for one year.

The governor has until June 27, 2022, to sign the bills that have been Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed by the General Assembly. He has until July 1 to sign the budget bills. To learn more about Jackson County Health Department’s policy priorities, see our full 2022 Policy Agenda.

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