Several laws passed by the Missouri Legislature during the second regular session of the 100th General Assembly take effect today. Missourinet provided a brief overview of these new laws.
Motorcycle helmets. House Bill 1963 allows motorcycle drivers 26 years and older to go helmetless if they have their own health insurance. It requires insurance to cover medical costs for injuries from a motorcycle crash.
Cameras within long-term care patient rooms. House Bill 1387 allows devices such as video cameras to be placed within patient rooms at Missouri nursing homes, assisted living centers and mental hospitals. Under the plan, a visible sign must be placed in rooms where monitoring is occurring. Anyone featured in a recording must approve of the release of the recording unless the information is being given to law enforcement for investigative purposes.
Changes to foster care system. House Bill 1414 is comprehensive legislation about Missouri’s foster care system. It requires the creation of a response team to review the practices of the state Children’s Division and any contractors. The package gives Missouri’s homeless kids access to a free birth certificate and provides them with Medicaid health coverage. It also clarifies that a child’s attendance in court hearings should take place only when the judge and family support believe it is in the best interest of the child.
Further health-care coverage for certain conditions. This wide-ranging health-care bill allows pregnant women on Medicaid to have access to mental health services for postpartum depression or related conditions for up to an additional 12 months. Previous law gave the benefits to eligible mothers for up to 60 days after giving birth. The extra help depends on state budget and federal approval.
Rape kit testing. This law streamlines the testing process for sexual assault evidence kits, and it creates a statewide task force aimed at protecting the rights of assault victims. Senate Bill 569 requires the state to create a centralized place to store untested rape kits and requires those kits to be stored for at least five years.
Tort reform. Senate Bill 591 puts new limits on punitive damages in liability lawsuits. It allows juries to award punitive damages only when plaintiffs prove by clear and convincing evidence that defendants intentionally harmed someone without just cause or acted with deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.
Medical marijuana. Missouri lawmakers passed changes to the state’s new medical marijuana industry. The FBI informed the state health department, which regulates the industry, that the Missouri agency will not have access to its national fingerprint background check database. Under House Bill 1896, the agency requires fingerprints from medical marijuana business employees and department employees associated with licensing medical marijuana businesses..