Representative Yolanda Young's Newsletter

April 02, 2021

Contact me at: 
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: (573) 751-3129

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Dear Neighbors,

Thank you to those of you who joined Representatives Mark Sharp, Michael Johnson, and me for our virtual town hall last Saturday. We had a very productive discussion on important legislation that is being discussed here in Jefferson City and had the opportunity to answer several questions from our constituents. We discussed topics such as criminal justice, guns, healthcare, voting rights, and what it's like serving in Jefferson City. 
If you missed the town hall, you can watch the recording of the live event here.
While I miss being able to rub shoulders with all of you, it was great to discuss some of the issues and answer your questions. The questions asked at these events help us better understand what you care about most. I'm hopeful that as we have the next town hall events, more of you will be able to join us and we can learn more about what you'd like to see in Jefferson City. We will host the second virtual town hall in our series at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center on June 26 at 1pm and the third event at the Concord Fortress of Hope Church on September 25 at 1pm. 
Remember, my office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs any assistance, please don't hesitate to call my office at (573) 751-3129.

Have a safe holiday weekend!

Yours in Service,

Yolanda Young
Medicaid Expansion Gutted in
FY 2022 State Budget
On April 1, the Missouri House of Representatives passed the $32 billion state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Not among the $32 billion for the state was funding to implement Medicaid expansion— a last-ditch effort to block a constitutionally mandated expansion of the program’s eligibility threshold. Supports of Medicaid expansion made multiple attempts to restore the funding during debate on March 30, but our efforts were thwarted by the super majority. 

During the over six hours of debate on the budget, funding for Medicaid expansion was the item that took up the most amount of time. Many supporters of Medicaid expansion stood up to speak about the effects of expansion in their communities and echo their voters' support of the program, which passed with nearly 700,000 votes from Missourians last August. I had the opportunity to speak about the voters in our community who overwhelmingly voted to support expansion. 
You can watch my comments here. 
Because the state constitution now requires Medicaid to cover adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, an estimated 275,000 additional Missourians will be eligible for the program starting July 1, and opponents can do nothing at this point to stop it. But by refusing to authorize the necessary spending authority for the expansion, it could cause the program to exhaust its funding partway through the 2022 fiscal year, which starts July 1.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost of expansion, or about $1.4 billion for FY 2022. In addition, Missouri would receive an additional $1.5 billion under the most recently passed COVID-19 relief bill for implementing expansion. Prominent business organizations, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, support accepting the funding because of the massive economic boost and job creation that would result from infusing that much new revenue into the state’s economy.
Governor Parson included the additional Medicaid funding in his state budget proposal. He acknowledged that health care savings resulting from expansion and the increased economic activity from the infusion of federal funds would be more than sufficient to cover the state’s share. If the Senate doesn’t restore the funding and it isn’t in the final budget, a lawsuit to enforce the constitutional requirement is considered guaranteed.
The House’s version of the budget includes $2.27 billion less in spending authority than Parson requested, with the missing Medicaid funding accounting for most of it. The House also failed to include a number of other items requested by the governor, trimming about $32.5 million in spending for mental health services and more than $23 million for various education program.
The House budget does provide sufficient spending authority to claim full funding of the statutory formula for distributing state money to local public school districts. However, the budget underfunds K-12 school transportation funding by nearly $183 million from what state law says it should be.
The Senate will craft its own versions of the 13 appropriations bills that make up the operating budget in the coming weeks and is expected to be much more generous in allocating federal coronavirus relief funding that the House left unused. House and Senate negotiators must then hammer out a compromise budget for the two chambers to agree to by the May 7 deadline.
Senate Endorses Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill
The years-long effort to adopt a statewide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) overcame a key hurdle on March 29 when the Missouri Senate granted a PDMP bill preliminary approval. Missouri holds the dubious distinction of being the only state in the nation that doesn’t have a statewide PDMP, a key tool to identify and reduce opioid abuse.
For eight straight years, PDMP legislation routinely passed the House of Representatives only to die in the Senate. But with the bill’s previous House sponsor now a senator, the bill started in the upper chamber this year. A second vote is required to advance the measure, Senate Bill 63, to the House.
Opponents of a statewide PDMP have steadily lost leverage over the years as many Missouri counties joined a PDMP network started by St. Louis County in response to the legislature’s continued inaction. The St. Louis County PDMP now covers about 90 percent of Missouri’s population.
Vacant Lot Project
I was contacted last week by a representative of the Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) for help identifying community leaders who are interested in fixing up vacant lots in our area. In an effort to preserve communities and reduce pollution, HCA is working with local organizations and stakeholders to access vacant lots and make the necessary improvements. The Urban Neighborhood Initiative has several templates for similar vacant lot projects.  

If you or someone you know might be interested in participating, I encourage you to reach out to their technical advisory group by contacting Hilary Noonan at or (816) 309-0655. 
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
This week, Governor Parson's office announced transportation assistance to Missourians traveling to and from their vaccine appointments. Across our state there are free or reduced-cost transportation options to help Missourians get their COVID-19 vaccines. For more information and to find a ride to your vaccine appoint, visit the MO Rides database

We are still in Phase 1B- Tier 3, so if you are a healthcare worker, resident of a long-term care facility, a first responder, are considered a high risk individual (65 and older or have a qualifying health condition), or are considered to be a part of our state's "critical infrastructure," you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Governor Parson also announced this week that beginning April 9, ALL Missourians will be eligible to receive the vaccine. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine when it become available, I encourage you to be put on the wait-list at any of the locations listed below. 

If you have not been able to get vaccinated, I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 map to find a vaccination site near you. I have been told that the following places are currently offering vaccines in Kansas City: 
If you register at more than one location, be sure to call to remove your name from other lists and free your spot for someone else who wants the vaccine.
Hope Faith Homeless Assistance has also partnered with Heart to Heart International to those who are experiencing homelessness and those working with the homeless population. If you or someone you know might qualify, visit the Hope Faith website or call their office at 816-705-0505.
State government can be hard to navigate. If you need assistance with a state department or with unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps, or other state benefits call my office at (573) 751-3129. We can also guide you to community resources such as rent and utility assistance, food distribution, and COVID-19 related issues. My staff and I are here to help in any way we can. 
District 22 Staff

Kaylee Bauer
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Phone: (573) 751-3129 
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State Representative Yolanda Young · 201 W Capitol Ave · Jefferson City, MO 65101-1556 · USA

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