JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.
Missouri House Representatives convened at 9 a.m. Wednesday for a final reading and vote on Senate Bill 1, the Federal Reimbursement Allowance bill passed by the state Senate this past Saturday. They are also debating House Bill 2, which repeals state funding for abortion clinics and prohibits employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees.
On the floor Wednesday morning, HB 2 author Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O'Fallon) introduced an amendment to his own bill which would ban any business in Missouri from requiring coronavirus vaccinations for employees or anyone else. Under the amendment, if a business were to violate that rule, it may lose its business license in the state.
Rep. Justin Hill (R-Lake St. Louis) added an amendment to Schroer's amendment which states no one can dispute a person's religious or health exemption from the vaccine. The House spent over an hour debating Hill's and Schroer's amendments until about 10:50 a.m. when Schroer withdrew the original amendment.
The House moved on to debate the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood, which they voted to pass. Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport) voted in favor of HB 2, because he doesn't want tax payer dollars going toward abortions.
"None of my House colleagues on the Republican side want any taxpayer money going to Planned Parenthood," Basye said. "So, it's not saying they can't operate but we don't want taxpayer money to go into any kind of abortion-related services."
Mandy Culbertson, director of communications at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said taking Medicaid funding away from Planned Parenthood is discriminatory.
"This is not new," Culbertson said. "There has been a concerted effort by the Missouri Legislature to prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid program for a number of years."
After a recess that last nearly an hour, the House quickly voted in favor of passing SB 1 and sent it to Gov. Mike Parson's desk to be signed. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were relieved to have met the July 1 deadline.
"I'm excited the FRA got passed, systems can rest and to be at ease and Medicaid is gonna be properly funded," said Rep. David Smith (D-Columbia).