I. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
- The General Assembly is on Spring Break from March 20 through March 30, 2020.
- We will be providing updates as the House and Senate make decisions regarding session start after the break.
- The House and Senate continue to work on how to proceed with developing the 2021 budget,
- which is currently still pending in the House. The Missouri Constitution requires that the budget be truly agreed to and passed this year by May 8. The 2021 fiscal year starts July 1, so the budget must be passed before that date. If the legislature is unable to pass the budget before May 8, the Governor can call them back into session any time between May 8 and July 1 to complete it. Much of the discussion regarding how to proceed centers on two issues: 1) is it better to pass a budget quickly before May 8 or to wait until June when economic and fiscal data may better reflect any changes in general revenue and state costs associated with the virus response; and 2) how should the federal funding for virus response that the state receives be accounted for in the budget. We will continue to monitor the budget process and provide information as we receive it.
II. EXECUTIVE BRANCH
- Executive Order 20-02:
- On March 13, the Governor declared a state of emergency in Missouri. By signing the order, the Governor invoked the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan. This Order allows the Governor to waive certain state laws and regulations where necessary, allow access to $7 million in state funding and directs state agencies to report unfair market practices.
- Executive Order 20-03:
- On March 18, the Governor ordered all municipal elections scheduled for April 7, 2020 to be postponed to June 2, 2020.
- Executive Order 20-04:
- On March 18, the Governor issued an order invoking emergency powers to authorize executive agencies to waive or suspend certain regulations and statutes that interfere with Missouri’s response to the spread of COVID-19.
- Departments are vested in waiving any statutory or administrative rule, with Governor Office approval, where strict compliance with such requirements and rules would prevent, hinder or delay necessary action by the department to respond to COVID-19 health threat and to best serve public health and safety.
- Department of Health and Senior Services-includes enabling doctors to diagnose and treat patients more easily through telemedicine and pharmacology to avoid physical contact. Additionally, the department has relaxed its child care regulations to allow increasing capacity restrictions, temporary licenses and accommodating school-aged children.
- Department of Public Safety- includes extending the hours commercial drivers can operate on Missouri roadways to deliver essential supplies, equipment, and persons. The Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has issued guidelines for retailers who want to deliver alcohol. All Casinos in Missouri are closed through March 30, 2020.
- Department of Social Services- includes extending the Child Care Subsidy program benefits for 90 days, the program can pay for additional hours of care due to school closings or parents working additional hours, and the program application renewals are extended for 90 days. In addition, work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents is waived for 90 days. Mo Healthnet is taking several steps around copays, coverage and not terminating individuals during COVID-19 emergency. It is also relaxing enrollment requirements for new providers, supporting telemedicine efforts and relaxing requirements on prescription refills.
- Department of Commerce, Insurance and the Division of Professional Registration- includes evaluation of licensing requirements and licensing renewal timelines during the emergency.
- Department of Labor and Industrial Relations-is evaluating and providing information around unemployment, workers’ compensation and discrimination.
- Department of Revenue will be following the IRS announcement that allows for a delayed 2019 federal tax return filing and payment from April 15th to July 15th.
- Office of Administration-is providing information daily to state employees to keep the state operational to serve the public.
- Department of Elementary and Secondary Education- all 555 school districts and charter schools in the state are now closed. DESE has a great webpage setting out FAQs around school calendars, virtual education, special education, ADA/Finance, Food & Nutrition Services, Transportation, Assessments, Summer School and Finance/Payments.
- We strongly encourage you to check the agency’s webpages frequently because they are being updated with new information daily.
- Please feel free to call on us with any additional questions or needs relating to relaxed requirements and the impact on your business needs.
III. Judicial Branch
- Many of the federal and state courts are limiting access. This involves moving trials, access to the courts and court procedures. Attached is a link to federal courts across the country pertaining to Federal Courts of Appeals, Federal District Courts, and Federal Bankruptcy Courts.
- Information regarding Missouri Courts can be found at the link below.
IV. Employee Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Leave
- We are attaching an informational document on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided by the law firm of Lathrop GPM for your review.
Please let us know any specific needs you have with specific agencies and we will assist you in getting the answers you need.