Missouri’s Parson signs laws for new moms’ health care, ban on texting while driving

Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson has signed legislation to extend health care for new mothers and prohibit handheld phone use while driving
Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed 31 pieces of legislation into law and vetoed one...
Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed 31 pieces of legislation into law and vetoed one legislative bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly(Governor Mike Parson)
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 2:54 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson approved extended Medicaid health care for new mothers and a ban on handheld phone use while driving when he took final action on remaining bills last week.

Parson already signed a close to $52 billion state budget that includes billions in funding to expand Interstate 70 across the state. He also approved limits on access to transgender health care and a ban on transgender girls and women competing with other female athletes in school sports.

Parson signed most of the remaining bills passed by the GOP-led Legislature this year, with the exception of a measure to pay wrongfully convicted prisoners for their time behind bars.

Most of the new laws will take effect Aug. 28.


Lower-income new mothers will get a full year of Medicaid health-care coverage in Missouri under legislation signed by Parson. Missouri joins a growing list of Republican-led states that previously balked at Medicaid expansions but are now joining Democratic states in providing 12 months of coverage — instead of the typical 60 days — after women give birth.

ALSO READ: Missouri governor explains why he vetoed bill that included Blair’s Law


Missouri’s senior homeowners could be spared from rate hikes on property taxes under a bill signed by Parson. Beginning in September, counties can approve property tax breaks for people age 65 and older. The measure also ends state taxes on Social Security benefits.


Parson approved a ban on phone use while driving, which covers holding a phone, making calls and reading messages. Using phones for navigation, emergency calls and listening to podcasts or music will be allowed, as well as hands-free phone use. The law takes effect in 2025. Until then, violators will only be given a warning.


Workers who receive raises no longer will be cut off from food stamps and welfare benefits if a program signed by Parson is implemented. The law, which depends on permission from the federal government, would allow reduced aid proportionate to workers' raises. The idea is that taking away benefits punishes workers for getting promoted, which might encourage people to stay in lower-earning jobs.


Parson vetoed one bill: legislation that would increase pay for people who were wrongfully convicted for time spent unjustly in prison and make it easier to clear past criminal records. In a letter explaining his decision, Parson said taxpayers statewide should not have to pay for decisions made by local juries, judges and prosecutors dealing with wrongful convictions. He also wrote that proposed changes to criminal records could allow sexual exploitation of a minor and promoting child pornography — newer offenses under Missouri law — to be wiped from offenders’ records.

ALSO READ: Group lobbies for Missouri to lower voting age to 16