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26 August 2011

Lichtenegger: Back To School, Back to Chambers

Governor Nixon has called for a Special Legislative Session beginning September 6. The purpose is to finish work on several issues left unaddressed when the regular session adjourned last May. There are four bills to be addressed legislatively: the first three are House Bills: 1) St. Louis City Police Department Local Control, 2) Election Law issues (to address the issues in the Election Law bill that the Governor vetoed), and 3) Tax Amnesty. The fourth bill will be the omnibus Tax Credit Reform/Economic Development/Job Creation bill that will most likely be filed in the Senate.

Every year hundreds of people and student-groups from all over Missouri come to the Capitol for a tour of its grand marbled halls, observe House floor debates (January –May) and visit the museum displays where they can learn more about Missouri’s victories and struggles in its early history. We even get visitors from other states who marvel at the grand buildings and beautiful landscape.

The Capitol is not the only site open for tours; there are many more sites in the neighborhood that are walking distance from the Capitol building. The Governor’s Mansion tour guides will tell you stories of intrigue about guests, parties and the fountain sculptures of children playing. A visit to the Supreme Court building will lend insight into how some of the most difficult court cases are decided. If you link here to the Missouri State Parks website you’ll get a one-stop-shop for descriptions of tours, detailed tour information and to make your reservations. The available tour dates and times fill up very fast, so I encourage you to secure your reservations now! You can call my legislator assistant, Denia, at 573-751-6662 or go online to view available tour times and dates.

If you’re a teacher with students, a couple or an individual and you’ve made your own reservations please don’t hesitate to let me know the day and time of your visit. It would be my pleasure to meet with you.

You really don’t have to make a reservation to tour the Capitol if you’re by yourself or with a small group. You can stop by the Capitol information center where small group tours are conducted every half-hour without reservations. Again, don’t forget to stop by my office in room 409 and say “hello”!

Constituent Corner

My office has received a number of complaints regarding the Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) and its home-health care assessments. Many of my constituents receive home health care through the SEMO (Southeast Missouri) Alliance for Disability Independence, Inc. (SADI) and SEMO Options. In my May Capitol Report I mentioned that DHSS contracted with an Indiana-based company (with a subsidiary in Ballwin, MO) to take over the assessments previously done through DHSS and/or providers such as SADI.

The complaints have all been with regard to SynCare’s assessments resulting in reduced ours of home-health care. This caused a number of needy disabled and elder persons to not receive the care they need. This is unacceptable and I am working to gather facts and information as to how this situation came about.

There are several facts I want you to know:
  • Home-care providers such as SADI and SEMO Options ARE NOT responsible for the reduced care of the needy. That lies with DHSS and SynCare.
  • I and many of my colleagues here at the Capitol are working to hold DHSS and SynCare accountable for a poorly planned transition of health care assessments.
  • An August 31, informational hearing is scheduled with DHSS here at the Capitol. This meeting should result in needed changes. At the very least the meeting should result in DHSS understanding that this situation needs to be rectified immediately.

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