What we’re watching: April 2023 legislative update for Kansas, Missouri


Health Forward is supporting and building inclusive, powerful, and healthy communities by prioritizing people who experience the greatest injustices in health outcomes. We are working to remove those injustices through our leadership, advocacy, and resources.

The key resources that guide our policy updates are available on our policy and advocacy page

April is a key month for both legislatures in Kansas and Missouri.

In Kansas, April usually means a lengthy break before a rapid sprint to the finish for a veto session and the legislative session as a whole, which concluded on April 28.

Missouri tends to have increased urgency to meet their constitutional requirement to adopt a budget by the end of the first week in May. Then legislators work to see if there is any time left over for other key policy points.


People policy goal: People can easily access safe, quality, and affordable whole—person care.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
Conf. Cmte Report for HB 2285 limits the authority of public health officials to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It had previously been included in SB 6 and Senate Sub for HB 2390   This bill takes away the authority of statewide and local public health officials to do their job: prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  After the failures of SB 6 and Sen. Sub for HB 2390 to pass out of both chambers before the first break, this legislation is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signature or veto. It passed the Senate 22-18 and House 63 – 56 on April 28th. 


We oppose this bill as undercuts the reasonable authority of local and state public health officials to save lives and also puts police, firefighters, and medical professionals at risk.  
HB 2094adds work requirements to those aged 50-59 receiving food stamps (SNAP) benefits.  See description of the legislation.  It was passed by both chambers before the break, vetoed by Gov. Kelly, and was overridden during the veto session. It is now law.  We oppose any legislation that imposes work requirements for people to access safety net services and supports. 
SB 225 and HB 2415 – Expands KanCare  Provide quality, affordable health insurance coverage to 150,000 Kansans.  These bills are dead as the session is concluded. Neither received a public hearing despite overwhelming public support for expanding KanCare (Medicaid).  We support the expansion of Medicaid in Kansas. 
Two bills would have immediately eliminated the food sales tax in Kansas, SB 57 would have eliminated the sales tax on food, diapers, and feminine hygiene products and House sub for SB 169.  SB 57 promoted healthy foods more accessible and affordable to all Kansans. H sub for SB 169, while including the 0% food sales tax for this year, also includes changes to the income tax rate.  House sub for SB 169 passed out of both chambers before the spring break, but because of its problematic effects for families earning low incomes, it was vetoed by the Governor and an override attempt failed in the Senate as well. SB 57 was only introduced to the Assessment and Taxation Committee.  While we would have supported a straight elimination of the food sales tax, with no other provisions, no bill that did that was given a hearing. 
Bills we watched that died at the end of the 2023 session: HB 2330 on increasing support for local health departments. SB 246 and HB 2337 which would help broaden telemedicine access in Kansas in a number of ways. SB 45 and HB 2050 which fix a glitch in the state children’s health insurance program. We support these bills.  


Power policy goal: Participation in our democracy and policymaking process improves health outcomes.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
SB 209 and HB 2056Eliminates three—day grace period for advance mail—in ballots.   Kansas currently has a three—day grace period for ballots to arrive to be counted following election day. These bills would remove that grace period, which would mean many people’s valid votes would not count.  SB 209 passed out of both chambers before spring break April 6th. Governor Kelly vetoed the bill and an attempt to override in the Senate failed on April 26th, killing the bill. HB 2056  passed out of the House 77 – 45 on Feb. 23rd but was never considered in the Senate. We opposed both pieces of legislation and provided written and oral testimony against these bills. We are opposed to all bills that restrict or limit people’s ability to participate as voters. 
UPDATE: This bill became House sub for SB 208, amend items related to the government ethics commission. SB 208Original bill was to add signage on ballot box returns and to close all boxes by 7pm on election day. 


The House substitute bill now made some changes to the government ethics commission in Kansas. The original bill was amended on the floor of the Senate to ban ballot boxes entirely in Kansas. House sub for SB 208 passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.  We originally opposed this legislation, especially as amended. However, the changes to SB 208 to focus on the government ethics commission amendments made our stance neutral. 
UPDATE: This bill became Senate sub for HB 2053, which created a presidential primary in 2024. HB 2053 in its first form would’ve given authority for the Secretary of State (SoS) to adopt rules and regulations for the use of remote ballot boxes.  This legislation created provisions for a presidential primary election in 2024, instead of caucuses.  It was amended on the Senate side on March 24th to take its current form and passed the full Senate on the 29th 28-12 and passed in the House on April 4th. This bill is now law after signature by the Governor.  We opposed the original bill and the amended version from the House was slightly better. In its current form, we were neutral. 
Bills we watched that died at the end of the 2023 session:  HB 2057 would’ve capped ballot drop boxes based on population. We opposed this legislation. 


Place policy goal: Our communities are healthy place where people fully participate in the digital economy and build wealth through safe, quality, and affordable housing and homeownership.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
HB 2430 – requirements for the use of funds allocated to agencies to support unhoused people.  This bill would have criminalized public camping for people experiencing homelessness in Kansas. Moreover, it would strip state dollars from jurisdictions who are determined to be ‘out of compliance’ with the law.  This bill is dead with the ending of the session.  We opposed this bill and testified against it. Missouri passed a similar law last year, which not only is proving confusing to enforce, but counterproductive to the goal of ending homelessness.  
SB 17 – which expands the reinvestment housing incentive district program.  Expands the definition for the use of special obligation bonds and tax credit transferability for investors in housing developments, especially in rural areas.  Governor Kelly signed this bill into law on April 20th.  We support expanding access to and investment in affordable housing, especially in rural areas where shortages are especially acute. 


Platform policy goal: Community health is influenced by systems, policies, and stories that promote racial equity and economic inclusion.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
HB 2044 and SB 36Adds hair texture and protective hair styles to the Kansas Act against Discrimination  These bills would have made it unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their hairstyle typically associated with race, including braids, locs, and twists. It would’ve ensured that people with afro—textured hair are not discriminated against based on their choice of hair style.  Both bills died with the ending of the session.  Health Forward supported these bills. It ensures that people wearing natural or protective hair styles do not face discrimination, which disproportionately impacts Black women in the workplace. It aligns with our stance that racial equity should be pursued in all policies. 
HB 2376makes restrictive covenants, including those by race, void and unenforceable.  This bill would’ve nullified restrictive covenants – which in the past were used for redlining and segregating neighborhoods by race.  This bill died with the ending of the session, though it passed out of the House 121-0 on Feb 23.  We supported this bill and Health Forward supports any efforts that dismantle the legacy of codified and systemic racism in this county. 


These highlighted bills are ones we are keeping a focus on, but to see a full list of the bills we’re tracking in Kansas.


People policy goal: People can easily access safe, quality, and affordable whole—person care.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
SJR 4 — Puts on the ballot an initiative to subject Medicaid expansion to the annual appropriations process and to add work requirements. *An identical bill on the House side – HJR 63 – was introduced and we are monitoring that as well. 


This would put an initiative on a statewide ballot to put voter—approved Medicaid expansion to an annual appropriations process where it could be de—funded. It also adds work requirements.  It passed out of the Senate Health and Welfare committee on Feb. 8th. It is not currently on the Senate Calendar.  We are opposed to this legislation and provided opposition testimony. Furthermore, we stand against any work requirement provisions for access to safety net services as they are of racist origins 
SB 45/90modifies provisions to MOHealthNet services for pregnant and postpartum women. HB 354 on the house side is an identical bill.  Extends postpartum Medicaid coverage to new mothers and their babies from 60 days to one full year.  SB 45/90 is the current vehicle for this policy change and many others. On May 1st, a House-amended version passed 117-26.  It is currently in conference committee. HB 354 has cleared the House Rules committee on April 17th.  We support a post-partum bill that focuses on the original intent of the extension of benefits. The bill was also amended to include the ”cliff effect” transitional benefits that SB 82 also addresses, as well as a Health Professional Loan Repayment program (HB 542), both of which we support. 
SB 82modifies provisions for public assistance (TANF, SNAP, and low—income housing assistance) – The House filed a companion bill (HB 719).  This bill addresses the “cliff effect” whereby benefits to programs like TANF, SNAP, and housing assistance are entirely cut off once a person’s income rises to a level that is not financially sustainable. This bill introduces ‘transitional benefits’ based on a sliding scale relative to income rather than a single cutoff threshold.  It appears that with the provisions of SB 82 being rolled into SB 45/90, it won’t be considered any further as a standalone bill. HB 719 is on the ‘informal third reading calendar’ which means it may or may not come up for House consideration.  We support this legislation and provided affirmative testimony. We support it as part of the amended package for SB 45/90. 
SB 313 – creates a restaurant meals program for SNAP beneficiaries.  This legislation would let certain food assistance recipients, such as the elderly or disabled, use their benefits for prepared food, something that seven other states have done.  This bill has been placed on the Senate calendar for perfection.  We support this legislation and provided testimony in support. We also supported identical legislation that made it through the Senate but not the House in 2022. 


Power policy goal: Participation in our democracy and policymaking process improves health outcomes.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
HJR 43 — Modifies the threshold for passage of citizen initiative petitions. 


This bill would increase the threshold for passing a citizen initiative petition from the current simple majority (50% + 1 vote) to a supermajority of 57% or a simple majority in at least 5 of the 8 Congressional districts. It also includes a provision that would invalidate a citizen-passed reform if any court found it to be unconstitutional.  This bill passed the Senate with some substantive – and substantial – amendments on April 27th. It is now set for a conference committee.  We oppose this legislation and delivered oral testimony against it during the committee hearing on Jan. 24th. The amendments made by the Senate do not change our opposition, especially the provision about invalidating initiative petition reforms because of unconstitutionality, which could threaten Medicaid expansion in Missouri.  
SB 210 – To ‘cure’ absentee ballots if the statement has not been completed.  Under current law, absentee ballots missing information are automatically thrown out. This bill would give elections officials the chance to ‘cure’ the ballot by reaching out to the voter to complete it before election day.  It passed out of the Senate elections committee on April 3rd.  We support this legislation and provided oral testimony in support. 
Other Bills We’re Tracking: HB 780 requiring initiative petition signature gatherers to be registered MO voters (HFF opposes). 


Place policy goal: Our communities are healthy place where people fully participate in the digital economy and build wealth through safe, quality, and affordable housing and homeownership.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
Broadband HB 461 — Establishing Broadband Development Council to collect data, report on, and provide recommendations to the Legislature. 


See brief description in the Legislation column.  HB 461 passed out of the House on March 9th and has also passed out of its Senate committee.  While we have not provided testimony on this bill, it generally receives our support as Broadband Development Councils are becoming a key part to digital equity infrastructure. 
Housing –  SB 222 – Which bans localities (cities, counties, etc.) from having moratoria on evictions. (SB 239 is a similar bill)  See brief description in the Legislation column.  SB 222 has become an omnibus bill for many other provisions. It is currently in conference committee.  We are opposed to the legislation insofar as it places a moratorium on evictions. This preempts cities and counties from doing things to help people in unprecedented times. 
Other Bills We’re Tracking: SB 71 — Authorizing electrical corporations to provide broadband. 


Platform policy goal: Community health is influenced by systems, policies, and stories that promote racial equity and economic inclusion.

Legislation  What it does  Status  Our stance 
SB 410 and HB 489Establishes the “Do No Harm” act regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in institutions receiving state health care dollars.  This bill would prohibit institutions educating medical professionals and whom receive state funding from including any curriculum on diversity, equity, or inclusion (DEI) or risks losing that funding.  Both bills have passed out of their committees, with HB 489 having been placed on the ‘perfection calendar’ which means once perfected, it can be taken up on the House floor.  Health Forward is adamantly opposed to these bills and we provided oral testimony against both the House and Senate versions. This legislation would irreparably harm our ability to recruit and retain a diverse and culturally responsive health care workforce. 
SB 579 and SB 595Modifying the Pregnancy—Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) Board  These bills would put emphasis on the PAMR board and includes provisions to ensure that data are disaggregated by race, ethnicity, language, and other dimensions.  These bills have been combined and passed out of their committee on May 5th.  Health Forward supports this legislation and we testified in favor of both bills on April 12th. 
Other Bills We’re Tracking: CROWN Act bills (HBs 326, 361, and 930): These bills would add protective hairstyles and hair texture to anti-discrimination claims (HFF supports). They have all passed out of their committees. 


These bills highlighted are ones we are keeping a focus on, but here is a full list of the bills we’re tracking in Missouri.