While unemployment rates are decreasing and the economy is recovering many Missourians are still using Missouri food banks to help feed there families. 2013 was a record-breaking year with more than 100 million pounds of food distributed across the state. That’s an increase of 23 percent from 2012. The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Missouri number two in the nation for very low food security, which means many of the state’s residents have a hard time consistently providing food for themselves and their families. According to Monica Palmer, Communications Manager with Missouri Food Bank Association, “Historically, food banks are the organizations that help with emergency needs, but over the last several years we’ve seen food banks supplying more maintenance food.” Cuts to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program last year equated to 3.5 million lost meals for Missouri families. While the recently-passed Federal Farm Bill does allocate an additional $200 million to food banks nationwide.
State lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that could lower treatment costs for some cancer patients. The bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging patients more than $75 dollars for oral cancer drugs. Supporters say oral drugs often carry fewer side effects for cancer patients. The house voted 147 to 6 yesterday to send the bill to Governor Nixon. House Speaker Tim Jones says the bill would be among the most significant pieces of legislation passed this year.
The Missouri house is planning to pay $47 million a year to build a new mental hospital in Fulton. Chairman Rick Stream says it will save taxpayers $120 million over the course of the project. They would use the same revenue bonds Governor Jay Nixon proposed, but over a five year period instead of a twenty five year period. The project is estimated to cost more that $200 million, and once the planning is complete, it will take up to five years for completion. Fulton State Hospital is considered the most dangerous workplace in Missouri for state employees.