Missouri lawmakers continue debating bills in the closing minutes of the 2012 regular session.
Among the bills passed so far today is one that would require legislative approval before a health care exchange can be created in Missouri. State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accused Governor Jay Nixon (D) of trying last year to create an exchange via executive order.
The Missouri House has approved legislation allowing health care providers to refuse to participate in some tasks that violate their religious or ethical beliefs.
Wednesday's 117-37 vote sends the bill back to the Senate to consider changes made by the House.
The measure prohibits punishment of doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to participate in contraception, abortions, embryonic stem cell research and certain other procedures or research.
An Illinois House committee wants to take away a perk for government retirees who get a big break on health insurance.
State employees who work for 20 years pay no insurance premium in retirement. A measure to end that benefit cleared the House Executive Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, without opposition Wednesday.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees opposes the legislation.
If passed, the state of Missouri would not recognize the federal Affordable Care Act, and any federal official who tries to enforce it in Missouri would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Also, any person who is targeted by a federal official seeking to enforce the ACA would have the right to sue that official. The sponsor, State Rep. Kurt Bahr (R, O’Fallon, Mo.), says the U.S. Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to force citizens to purchase anything.