Health Freedom Successes and Challenges in the 2023 Legislative Session
Missouri’s beautiful Senate chamber where our state senators make decisions about how to spend our tax dollars and pass laws that should benefit Missouri citizens stands quiet after a very busy 2023 session.
Let’s look quickly at what happened in terms of bills that affect your health freedom.
Good Bills that Passed:
SB 39, the Save Women’s Sports Act
This bill was very popular among all Republican legislators. Though it bears Senator Holly Rehder’s name, the final version of this bill reflects the efforts of at least four other conservative senators who worked extremely hard these past few years to protect women’s sports in our state: Sen. Mike Moon, Sen. Denny Hoskins, Sen. Jill Carter, and Sen. Ben Brown. The resulting legislation, SB 39, prohibits a private school, public school district, public charter school, or public or private institution of post-secondary education from allowing any student to compete in an athletic competition that is designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex as stated on the student’s official birth certificate or other government record.
Volations can result in forfeiture of aid or other revenues from the state.
SB 39 is awaiting the governor’s signature. Though the Senators who have worked the hardest did not get the credit they deserve, we are thankful this bill finally crossed the finish line.
SB 49 SAFE Act (Save Adolescents from Experimentation)
SB 49, sponsored by Senator Mike Moon, is another collaboration bill that was filed by several conservative legislators including Sen. Jill Carter, Sen. Denny Hoskins, Sen. Bill Eigel, Sen. Rick Brattin, and Rep. Brad Hudson.
SB 49 establishes the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act”. Under this act, no health care provider will be allowed to perform gender transition surgeries on any minor.
A violation will be considered unprofessional conduct and shall result in the revocation of the health care provider’s professional license. Additionally, the prescription or administration of cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to a minor for a gender transition shall be grounds for a cause of action against the health care provider.
SB 49 also affirmed that the MO HealthNet program is not authorized to cover gender transition surgeries, cross-sex hormones, or puberty-blocking drugs for the purpose of a gender transition and health care services provided in prisons, jails, and correctional centers shall not include gender transition surgeries.
SB 49 was a huge win for Senator Moon, who worked tirelessly this session and in the past to get legislation through to protect Missouri children and families.
Good Bills That Failed
SB 100 – Gold & Silver as Mediums of Exchange
SB 100 was perhaps the most important bill filed this year in terms of protecting fundamental freedoms. This bill was unfortunately, used as a political football the last days of session. It was also horribly misunderstood in the floor debate, especially in the House.
Sponsored by Senator Bill Eigel, SB 100 would have protected Missourians’ right, enshrined in our Constitution, to use gold and silver as mediums of exchange for personal transactions and to pay taxes or any debts owed to the state.
It would have also required the State Treasurer to keep in the custody of the state treasury a prescribed amount of gold and silver. It also would have required the state of Missouri to accept gold and silver as legal tender, at spot price plus market premium, for payment of any debt, tax, fee, or obligation owed. No person or entity would have been be required to use gold or silver issued by the federal government in the payment of any debt.
One of the key provisions of this bill is that it would have prohibited the state from requiring digital currency for payment of debt.
SB 100 was, unfortunately, used as a bargaining tool by House leadership to get other bills passed. Though wildly popular across the state, it was held up so other bills that furthered leadership’s agendas could be passed.
HB 1169 – Informed Consent Labeling
HB 1169, bravely sponsored by freshman Rep. Holly Jones, was one of the most controversial bills all session. It would have protected our children from products, especially vaccines, that were made using mRNA technology.
This bill specifies that any product that acts as, or exposed to
processes that could result in the product potentially acting as, a
gene therapy or that could possibly impact, alter, or introduce
genetic material or a genetic change into the user of the product
or certain other people must be conspicuously labeled with the
words “Potential Gene Therapy Product”, and reasonable steps must
be taken to ensure a potential purchaser or user is made aware of
the presence of this label. If a product is known to be a gene
therapy product, the product must be conspicuously labeled with the
words “Gene Therapy Product”.
HB 1169 was heavily opposed by lobbyists, some of whom did not even understand the bill or what mRNA is, let alone the dangers of this emerging technology. HB 1169 died in committee. We are thankful to Rep. Jones for filing this bill and working so hard to try to get it across the finish line.
HB 336 – Employer Liability
HB 336, sponsored again this year by Rep. Mitch Boggs, would have established the “Required Immunization Liability Act”. It simply affirms that an employer that requires its employees to
receive an immunization as a condition of employment shall be
liable for damages or injury resulting from the required
immunization solely due to the employer’s requirement.
This bill is basically an affirmation of common law which allows anyone harmed by the actions of another to sue for damages. This would just give plaintiffs and their families, those who were injured by a vaccination an employer required as a condition of employment, an easier path to recover damages they suffer including injury an even death from such a medical procedure.
We are thankful to Rep. Boggs and his staff for fighting so hard to get this bill through committee without significant changes.
Rep. Bill Hardwick’s Amendments
Representative Bill Hardwick hit it out of the park when he offered an amendment onto multiple bills that would have protected our children from school mandates involving Covid vaccines or doses of any mRNA products. Read our May 6th post to learn more about this amendment and see a video of the debate on the House floor.
This amendment would have changed the statute that requires children to be vaccinated for specific diseases as a condition of school attendance, adding this section:
RSMO 167.181.1 (2) Neither the department of health and senior services nor any public school districts shall require any student to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or receive a dose of messenger ribonucleic
This amendment at Holly Rehder’s SB 199 passed the House, but was removed when the bill went to conference committee back in the Senate.
We will be forever thankful to Rep. Hardwick and Rep. Richey (who helped with the debate) for standing up for our children, even under pressure from lobbyists and the powerful pharmaceutical corporate interests they represent. It is a pressure cooker in Jefferson City and we are thankful for the legislators who defy all of the odds to work for Missouri citizens instead of for those who can contribute to their campaigns.
Bad Bills Killed
SB 117 -Sovereign Immunity
We are thankful that several horrible bills never made it to the governor’s desk this year. One of the most crucial was SB 117, sponsored by Senator Tony Leutkemeyer.
The most dangerous part of this bill is that it would have allowed private contractors when acting within the scope of a government contract to have the same sovereign or governmental tort immunity as a public entity. This means that any private contractors, including those in healthcare or any industry that partners with the state in state business, would be free from liability for damages or injury resulting from the products or services offered in those contracts. Sovereign immunity is a privilege the citizens grant their state. The state of Missouri can only be sued if the state consents. This would have opened up that limited privilege to any and all public/private partnerships.
SB 117 would have also reduced the statute of limitations for personal injury. Currently, actions for personal injury shall be brought within five years from the time the injury occurred. This act stated that actions for personal injury would be brought within two years from the time the injury occurred. Additionally, current actions against an insurer relating to uninsured motorist coverage or under-insured motorist coverage, including any action to enforce such coverage, are to be brought within ten years. This act would have modified the statute of limitations for such actions to be brought within two years. All of these changes would have made it harder for an injured person to get justice.
The ability to take a complaint to court not just for oneself, but to benefit anyone who might have a similar issue afterward, is a fundamental right of Missouri citizens. We thank EVERYONE who helped us fight to stop this bill.
SB 7 Chief Data Officer and HB 1165
SB 7 and HB 1165 were two terrible bills that failed to pass. We are so thankful to the Lord that they didn’t, even as amendments. A big part of the reason was the enormous outpouring of opposition from Missouri citizens and the courage of Senators and House members to stand up against them. See this video to learn why these two bills were so dangerous. We need to be vigilant next year to make sure these don’t make it across the finish line.
HB 249 – Dentists Administering Vaccines
HB 249, sponsored by Rep. Danny Busick, would have authorized dentists to administer vaccines. This bill was similar to the pharmacy bill, which would have done the same for pharmacists and, by default, their staff, by allowing these health professionals, not formally trained in vaccine administration through their original schooling and licensing, to adminster them to adults and children — and with no access to health history to check for counter indications. However, this bill was particularly problematic in that it left the decision about the minimum age of the child receiving the vaccines to the CDC instead of to the state, as the law currently stands.
This bill was offered as an amendment to SB 45 by Rep Busick. That amendment was adopted, however, was stripped from the bill during the conference committee when the bill went back to the Senate. We are thankful that it’s gone, but it’s troubling that a majority of House members voted for it.
HJR 43 – Concurrent Majority Ratification
HJR 43, sponsored by Rep. Henderson, was one of several IP reform bills filed this year. The best of these was SJR 28 by Senator Jill Carter. The bill was improved over the course of session, but ended up being worse than it started. IHC’s position quickly changed from supporting this bill to calling for Missourians to ask their legislators to kill it and start over with a good bill, like Senator Carter’s, next year.
Watch this video for more details on HJR 43:
SB 540 – Sports Betting
SB 540 sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx, would have amended the definition of “games of skill” to include sports wagering in Section 313.800, RSMo.
This bill would have allowed certificate holders, such as professional sports teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, to offer sports wagering at licensed facilities that are excursion gambling boats and over the
Internet through interactive sports wagering platforms to persons
physically located within the state.
This bill failed to pass again this year, thanks in part to the efforts by several conservative senators.
Bad Bills that Passed
We have been saving the ugly part of this year’s session for last. These are bill that, despite huge efforts by the grassroots to stop them, passed. Most had the financial backing (meaning companies paid both lobbyists and legislators through campaign contributions) to get their agenda accomplished and discredit Missourians who opposed.
The Missouri Budget
This multi-bill monster ended up costing taxpayers 49 billion dollars. Many of the provisions were debated and perfected in the middle of the night with amendments being offered at such a dizzying pace, no one could keep up. In the end, even with a Republic majority, Missourians ended up with the biggest budget in the state’s history. Here is the breakdown of how your money is spent.
Notice that 48% of Missouri’s budget comes from federal funds. This is slowly making Missouri beholden to our US government, instead of keeping that power within our state. Our state is sovereign, but taking federal funds dilutes that power that is protected by our US Constitution.
Compare this to 2019, just four years ago, when 33% of our budget came from federal funds. Yes, the pandemic contributed to this increase, but it’s unlikely things will go back to the way they were.
SB 41 – Pharmacists Administer Vaccines/Medications
SB 41, sponsored by Senator Holly Rehder, never made it to the governor’s desk as a stand-alone bill, but it was added to at three other bills that passed this year. It was one of our top priorities and Senators and House members saw the dangers it posed to the health of individuals, especially children, as well as its expansion of federal power during public health emergencies.
This bill was added as an amendment to these bills that passed the House and Senate: SB 157, HB 447, and SBs 45 & 90.
Watch this video below to learn how this pharmacy bill, SB 41, and the dental bill that failed, HB 249, would have worked together with SB 7 and HB 1165 to rob Missourians of their privacy, safety, and financial autonomy.
Other bad bills that passed
SB 45 & 90 – Health
What started out as a bill to allow funds for pregnant and postpartum women ended up as a huge omnibus bill onto which SB 41 and a host of other terrible legislation was attached. This is how it ended up in the last few days of session:
This bill passed both houses and is waiting to be signed by the governor.
It an example, however, of a bigger problem with titling and amending bills. Unless this abuse of the system is addressed, our legislators are merely tools of a corrupt system where they go through the motions of representing and listening to constituents, but are actually doing the bidding of big business, bought by the highest bidder.
HB 447 – Adults High Schools
HB 447, sponsored by Rep. Bishop Davidson, started out with the title above, “Adult High Schools”. Those concerned about indoctrination of children looked the other way, since this related only to adults.
In the last days of session, however, the title changed to “Modifies provisions relating to duties of the department of elementary and secondary education” and multiple bills relating to elementary and secondary education were added to this bill.
Missourians would have no way of knowing that this bill was actually funding classes on family values and sex education not just for adults but also for children and would be implemented in their public schools soon. Planned Parenthood is poised to be the entity that would be conducting these classes for children.
Read this Substack article by Missouri author, Local Control, to learn more about HB 447.
SB 157 – Health Licensing
SB 157, sponsored by Senator Rusty Black, was another huge omnibus bill onto which every health legislation imaginable was added, including SB 41, the pharmacy bill
This was a fairly innocuous bill, like so many others, until in the last days and hours of session, legislation we had fought all year to stop was added and adopted.
SB 24 – First Responders
This bill, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Hough, began as legislation to provide mental health support for first responders. This bill deals with healthcare and was not controversial in its first three versions — Introduced, Perfected, and House Committee Substitute. It was only on the floor that the language from Sen. Gannon’s SB 46, from RSMo 190.091 was added. This language amends this section that is already problematic in that it affirms an existing statute that authorizes, during a bioterrorism event, an employer to mandate a vaccine for its employees. The bill simply adds “Missouri state highway patrol telecommunicators” to the definition of first responders who could be required by their employers to be vaccinated for any disease the CDC recommends. This language, which was added as an amendment offered to Rep. Adam Schwadron on the House floor, only shows up on the truly agreed and passed version of the bill.
As with other bills onto which amendments were added with only seconds for legislators to read and comprehend them, there was little chance for legislators to realize that this added a class of first responders who don’t even make contact with the public and could now be required to take a vaccine as a condition of employment with no religious exemption available exempt medical. Legislators should have had the chance to consider whether imposing such a requirement on this kind of first responder was logical.
SB 186 – Public Safety
This was another bill onto which Senator Elaine Gannon’s SB 46 was added, this time in a conference committee. The language from SB 46 was not in any of the previous versions. The underlying bill, which ended up being 193 pages, was sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Hough, became a vehicle for health and public safety legislation that could not be passed as stand-alone bills.
HB 115 – Physical Therapists
HB 115, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields, started out as a bill that would allow patients to access physical therapists without a prescription. This is another simple bill that went all session with few changes until the last few days of the year when provisions regarding nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and pharmacists (including SB 41) were added. This is another exampled of the abuses to our Constitutional rights with regard to how bills should be titled and limited in subject matter.
We are thankful, again, to everyone who helped us stop the worst of the bills filed this session, the Chief Data Officer (SB 7), CBDC Control (HB 1165), Dentists and Vaccines (HB 249), and Sovereign Immunity (SB 117). These bills would further eroded fundamental rights and would have made life even more difficult for Missourians.
Please be part of our team as we educate and empower Missourians about this session and look forward to our work next session. Informed Health Choice Missouri is committed to protecting parents’ and individuals’ rights to make decisions that are best for themselves and their families.
IHC Legislative Team
Updated May 29, 2023