Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Roy Blunt
Scott Harvey / KSMU

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says “Nothing will be more innovative than treating behavioral health like all other health.”  

That’s the goal behind the Excellence in Mental Care Act, which the Missouri Republican introduced alongside Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2014. It puts community mental health centers on an equal footing with other health centers.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will run for the United States Senate next year, ending months of speculation and intrigue about whether the 37-year-old would take on another high-profile statewide race.

It’s a move that could put Hawley on a collision course with U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, provided that he can get past his current crowd of opponents in the Republican primary.

The chronically underfunded Missouri public defender system is now dealing with another vexing issue: the prospect that its overworked attorneys could be punished for not keeping up with their workloads. And that's leading to a growing standoff between judges and public defender attorneys.

The issue surfaced after the Missouri Supreme Court last month suspended a 21-year veteran of the public defender’s office in Columbia who was laboring under a huge caseload and was hospitalized due to chronic health problems.

The same day a federal appeals court overruled itself and voted to block two Missouri abortion restrictions, the state advised Missouri abortion providers that they will have to abide by a new restriction.

A memo dated Oct. 2 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the agency will file emergency rules on Oct. 24 establishing standards for “complication plans” for medication-induced abortions.

There was another twist Monday in the roller-coaster case brought by Planned Parenthood seeking to block two Missouri abortion restrictions.

After a federal appeals court last month decided to lift an injunction blocking the restrictions from taking effect, the same court has now had a change of heart.

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