JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers rushed to pass as many bills as possible on the final day of the session Friday, after they took several weeks off work because of the coronavirus.
To compensate for lost time, lawmakers crammed numerous bills together to get more policies across the finish line. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major proposals approved by the Republican-led Legislature Friday.
One proposal would end local rules requiring a prescription to get the allergy medication pseudoephedrine. Local officials previously put limits on the sale of the decongestant, which can be used to make methamphetamine. Lawmakers want to ease regulations now it’s less common to make meth in Missouri.
Another bill headed to Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s desk would create the crime of vehicle hijacking, expand the number of crimes that are considered dangerous felonies, ban probation for some crimes, and broaden what’s considered a criminal gang along with increased penalties for taking part in gang activities, among other things.
Missouri’s Revenue Department could offer online driver’s license renewal under a bill passed by lawmakers.
A bill would ban the sale of edible medical marijuana shaped like fruit, gummy bears, cartoons or other characters that might be attractive to children. Circles, squares or other shapes would be allowed.
FREE COVID-19 TESTING
COVID-19 testing, if recommended by a doctor, would be free to all Missourians under a health care bill.
Lawmakers voted to cover homeless youth under age 21 in the state’s Medicaid government health care program, if the state gets a waiver from the federal government to allow it.
Lawmakers passed a bill that would give the Missouri Highways and Transportation Committee the authority to form a public-private partnership to build an ultrafast Hyperloop track connecting St. Louis and Kansas City. Hyperloop technology involves a tubular track through which a train-like pod carries passengers at speeds up to 640 mph.
Motorcycle riders age 26 or older wouldn’t have to wear a helmet under a bill heading to the governor’s desk.
Vaping would be banned in and around public K-12 schools.
The legislation would expand the use of mail-in ballots for the 2020 election because of concerns about spreading the coronavirus at in-person polling places. People considered at-risk of the coronavirus — those age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain existing health problems — could vote absentee without needing to have their ballot notarized. Anyone else could cast a mail-in ballot but would need to get it notarized. The provisions would apply only for the 2020 elections.