Every year, lawmakers are tasked with crafting and passing the state’s operating budget. It is the only task the Missouri Constitution requires us to complete during our time in Jefferson City. In last year’s budget, the governor decided to cut funding for those who receive in-home and nursing home care. This decision devastated a number of people in our community. For many, this decision resulted in receiving less care, and for some, it meant not getting any care at all. This is unacceptable, and it is why my colleagues and I have been working to find a solution to help provide care to some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Senate Bill 567 aims to restore a portion of the governor’s funding cuts by reforming the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit program. The proposal reduces the available tax credit from $1,100 to $750 for homeowners, and it also reduces the available tax credit for renters from $750 to $450. Under the proposal, individuals who use the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit must be at least 65 years old and their income must be at least 100 percent of the federal poverty level. In addition, participants cannot receive federal or state housing assistance or reside in a skilled nursing facility. These changes do not apply to those who are 100 percent disabled, 100 percent disabled veterans, surviving spouses of veterans, firefighters or police officers killed in the line of duty.

The savings generated by the proposal will go towards providing vital, life-saving services through the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund. We must do everything we can to make sure our state’s most vulnerable citizens continue to receive the medical care they need. This proposal is the result of lots of discussion and hard work done by lawmakers and stakeholders over the past year. This issue was a priority during the 2017 legislative session, and it remains a priority this session. On Tuesday, senators discussed and debated the issue on the floor of the Missouri Senate. I am confident we can come to an agreement on this issue before the end of the legislative session.

Other News

Walmart Announces New Opioid Disposal Product

In an effort to help curb opioid abuse and misuse, Walmart is launching a first-of-its kind opioid disposal solution – available at no cost – in all company pharmacies. Known as DisposeRX, the product contains ingredients that when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, ultimately enables patients to responsibly dispose of leftover medications in their trash.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 65 percent of people misusing prescription opioids are getting them from family and friends, and personal prescriptions. These prescriptions are the main source of nonmedical opioid abuse. DisposeRX provides an effortless way for patients to destroy leftover prescriptions and also provides a way to do so without ever leaving their home.

The innovative disposal solution will be provided with every opioid prescription filled at any of the company’s 4,700 pharmacies nationwide. In addition, Walmart will continue to offer counseling services to customers on proper opioid use when filling opioid prescriptions. For more information on the product and Walmart’s efforts to combat opioid abuse and misuse, please visit Walmart’s website.

Missouri State Library Offers State Employees Valuable Research Services

The Missouri State Library’s Reference Services Division offers numerous tools to state employees to assist with research requests. The Reference Services’ division assists state employees by connecting them with quality information resources, most of which are not freely available. These resources include access to digital collections of journals and state publications, law and legislative materials from other states and thousands of eBooks. Additionally, print books form the library’s collection and partner libraries worldwide can also be acquired to assist in research efforts. Reference Services also hosts free, monthly webinars covering the library’s digital resources, census tools and more. For more information about the Missouri State Library and its Reference Services Division, please visit their website.