Mo. House Passes ‘ Medical Conscience’ Bill
February 12, 2014

(AP) – Missouri health care workers could refuse to partake in certain medical procedures that violate their ethical or religious beliefs under legislation endorsed by the Missouri House on Wednesday.

The House voted 116-38 to give first-round approval to the bill, which is sponsored by Republican House Speaker Tim Jones. He said the measure would protect workers from having to engage in procedures that conflict with their beliefs, while also protecting patients.

“This is good for patients in making sure they don’t have people involved in their procedures making second guesses because of their religious beliefs,” said Jones, of Eureka.

Republican Rep. Keith Frederick, an orthopedic surgeon from Rolla, agreed and said it was important that medical personnel are engaged with the patient rather than worrying about religious conflicts.

The measure would apply to procedures such as those involving abortion-inducing drugs, artificial insemination and the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. It would also let workers opt out of procedures involving cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Religiously-affiliated hospitals would be shielded from liability for refusing to provide medical procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs.

It would require health care workers to give “reasonable” notice to their employers if they are going to opt out of a procedure. Health personnel also could not be fired or demoted for refusing to participate in an operation. The legislation would not permit workers to withhold emergency treatments that could save a patient’s life.

KC’s Talboy Expects “Tense” Vote on ‘Conscience’ Bill in approaching Veto Session
September 1, 2012

Columbia Missourian:
COLUMBIA — Missouri lawmakers have one last chance to make law from legislation that Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed earlier this year. The General Assembly’s annual veto session is scheduled for Sept. 12.

States’ rights, religious freedom and women’s health will converge to drive the debate over Senate Bill 749, which provides protection for employers’ religious beliefs in regard to the imposition of certain health-care services and is likely to face a final vote. Chances are good that taxation of vehicles purchased out of state also will be put to the test. Arguments about business competitiveness and accusations of retroactive taxation promise to see House Bill 1329 — regarding the issuance of temporary permit tags and the collection of sales taxes on motor vehicles, trailers, boats and outboard motors — buffeted back and forth across the proverbial aisle.

Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, who is minority floor leader in the House, said he anticipates the vote on SB 749 to be tense. Still, he thinks there’s a good chance the legislature will override the governor’s veto and pass the bill.

“I would anticipate that one is going to be the most difficult to sustain the governor’s veto,” Talboy said. “It’s probably the most fueled and emotional type of bill that we’re going to see in veto session.”

In the Senate, Majority Leader and SB 749 co-sponsor Tom Dempsey, R-St. Peters, also thinks an override of the veto is probable. He is less certain about HB 1329. There have been instances, he said, when votes for a bill during the regular session did not translate to override votes during the veto session.

“If they had a desire to support their governor, then the House would not have the votes to override that bill,” he said.

An unusual addition to this year’s veto session will be election of a new House Speaker. Rep. Steven Tilley stepped down from that post earlier in August. House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is widely expected to be elected by his colleagues as their new leader.

The veto session is scheduled to start at noon Sept. 12 at the Capitol in Jefferson City. As with all sessions of the legislature, it is open to the public. The Missouri Constitution allows up to 10 days for veto business, but House Clerk Adam Crumbliss expects lawmakers to wrap up in just one.