Rep. Karla Eslinger's Capitol Report March 30, 2020
Hello Friends and Family,
This past week the House of Representatives was not in session due to our scheduled spring break. I was informed that we will not return to Jefferson City this week. I am working from home, reaching out to local leaders, businesses and families to support their needs as well as preparing to return to the Capitol to complete priority legislation specifically FY ‘21 Budget. I am confident we will fulfill our constitutional obligation and know our leadership is working through the challenges to support us in completing this task. As we all adjust our schedules, bare the income losses and other impacts of the pandemic I notice the resilience and old-fashioned grit of our district. We work hard, we love well and take care of each other. I am so proud of the outpouring of support by all.
As I prepare my weekly report, I am finding it challenging to determine information that is most relevant and timely as numerous times during each day I learn of new local, state and federal actions to assist in navigating COVID 19. To ensure I am providing the most current information I am providing a list of websites that include Senator Blunt, Senator Hawley Congressman Smith, Governor Parson and Missouri state agencies. Check these websites for easy reference to the most up-to-date information.
Senator Roy Blunt www.blunt.senate.gov
Senator Josh Hawley www.hawley.senate.gov
Congressman Jason Smith www.jasonsmith.house.gova.mo.gov/a.mo.gov/
Governor Parson www.governor.mo.gov
Office of Administration www.oa.mo.gov
Department of Agriculture www.agriculture.mo.gov
Department of Conservation www.mdc.mo.gov
Department of Corrections www.doc.mo.gov
Department of Economic Development www.ded.mo.gov
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education www.dese.mo.gov
Department of Health and Senior Services www.health.mo.gov
Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development www.dhewd.mo.gov
Department of Commerce and Insurance www.dci.mo.gov
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations www.labor.mo.gov
Department of Mental Health www.dmh.mo.gov
Department of Natural Resources www.dnr.mo.gov
Department of Public Safety www.dps.mo.gov
Department of Revenue www.dor.mo.gov
Department of Social Services www.dss.mo.gov
Department of Transportation www.modot.mo.gov
A basic overview of this past week’s actions is summarized below.
Our Governor requested and President Trump approved Missouri’s Federal Disaster Declaration. This request provides opportunity for our state to receive additional federal assistance for state and local COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and emergency response efforts. In making his request, the Governor said the pandemic is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the means of state and local governments.
Governor Parson requested two programs statewide, Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program, which helps individuals and families. The Governor said the closure of multiple employment sectors will greatly impact all Missourians and that the state and local capabilities to provide mental health services will also require federal assistance. Governor
Parson also requested FEMA's Public Assistance Program to assist local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies with emergency response expenses, including those of first responders. He also requested that FEMA assist with debris removal expenses if needed for the removal and disposal of bio-hazard and other contaminated materials as a result of the pandemic response.
Below is a summary of changes made by Governor Parson and his administration to help those being impacted by COVID-19.
Missouri Medicaid-MO HealthNet
Eligibility for any Medicaid participant will not be terminated unless the individual requests a voluntary termination of eligibility or the individual ceases to be a resident of the state through the end of the federal emergency COVID-19 declaration
• Extending 90 days of MO HealthNet coverage to Missourians ages 19-64 who test positive for COVID-19 and meet the income and resource eligibility guidelines
• Relaxing requirements related to prescription refills and prior authorizations to ensure participants have access to essential medications
• Expediting new provider enrollment applications and waiving certain enrollment requirements such as application fees and on-site visits to enable providers to serve Medicaid participants
• Waiving the co-payment for any services provided by means of telehealth
Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
• The Family Support Division is waiving all work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents for 90 days
Child Care Subsidy Program
• Child Care Subsidy benefits are extended for 90 days
• Provider application renewals are extended for 90 days
• Approve additional hours of care for families on a case-by-case basis
Family Support Division has requested waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to:
• Waive all Food Stamp adverse action notices for 90 days
• Waive initial in-person Food Stamp interviews for 90 days
• Extend Food Stamp certification periods by 6 months - this waiver has been received
Relief for Missouri Families and Businesses
• Filing deadline extended: The deadline to file income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
• Payment relief for individuals and corporations: Income tax payment deadlines for individual and corporate income returns with a due date of April 15, 2020, are extended until July 15, 2020. This payment relief applies to all individual income tax returns, income tax returns filed by C Corporations, and income tax returns filed by trusts or estates. The Department of Revenue will automatically provide this relief, so filers do not need to take any additional steps to qualify.
• This relief for individuals and corporations will also include estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.
• Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. Individuals and corporations that file their return or request an extension of time to file by July 15, 2020, will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the tax paid by July 15.
• Vehicle owners with registrations or license plates expiring in March and April have been granted an automatic two-month extension. Owners will be able to continue operating their vehicles on Missouri roadways without penalty until they can apply for renewal.
• The time frame in which a vehicle safety and emission inspection is valid for March and April license plate expirations has also been extended an additional 60 days. Applicants for title will not be assessed a late title penalty when visiting a license office, effective immediately; this waiver will continue through April 30, 2020.
• Valid Missouri driver licenses, non-driver licenses and noncommercial instruction permits with original expiration dates of March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2020, have been granted an automatic 60-day extension.
Help for Small Businesses and Non-Profits
• The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Missouri’s request for assistance through the federal agency’s disaster loan program. This move makes low interest disaster loans available to small businesses and private non-profits severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business or non-profit. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
• Applicants will be able to apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
Historic two trillion Federal Stimulus Package approved. The stimulus package provides resources to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and provides a spark to the nation’s economy. The legislation represents the biggest emergency aid package in the nation’s history and is enormous in scope. Some of the highlights that may be of interest to our families and businesses include:
• A $1,200 direct payment to many Americans and $500 for each dependent child. Payments phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes over $75,000 ($150,000 for couples). Anyone making over $99,000 would not get a payment ($198,000 for couples). Payments are expected to go out by April 6.
• Expansion of unemployment insurance from three to four months, and provides temporary unemployment compensation of $600 per week, which is in addition to and the same time as regular state and federal UI benefits.
• A $500 billion lending fund for businesses, cities and states. The Treasury Department would allocated up to $500 billion in loans to struggling industries, and even cities and states.
• A $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments.
• $30 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund for states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to the coronavirus.
• $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them respond and recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19.
• $1.4 billion for deployments of the National Guard. This level of funding will sustain up to 20,000 members of the National Guard, under the direction of the governors of each state, for the next six months in order to support state and local response efforts.
• An additional $4.3 billion, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to support federal, state and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
• Extension of the Real ID deadline for full implementation by states from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.
• $400 million in election security grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus in the 2020 federal election cycle.
Together we will overcome. The COVIC-19 outbreak is unprecedented and unchartered. As I work throughout our communities I am humbled by the willingness of so many to offer support, work together to offset the economic impact all the while remaining diligent in safe practices. Thank you to all who go the extra mile and no matter what crisis is at hand, pitch in, take care of business and do so because it is the right thing to do. God Bless and thank you for providing me the honor of representing you.
Please contact me at:
201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 118CA
Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806