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Missouri governor signs bill for free COVID-19 testing

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Monday signed a number of bills into law, including legislation to ensure free COVID-19 testing and a requirement that hospitals perform rape kits when needed.

Here’s a glance at what Parson approved:

Missouri Governor Mike Parson. (FILE)


Local governments soon will no longer be able to require prescriptions for allergy medications including pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. Local officials currently can put limits on the sale of the decongestant, which can be used to make methamphetamine. Those local rules will be void when the state law takes effect Aug. 28. Lawmakers wanted to ease regulations now it’s less common to make meth in Missouri.


A new law ensures that COVID-19 testing, if recommended by a doctor, will be free to patients. The change takes effect immediately.


Another new law will require companies to sign a contract pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with Missouri. It doesn’t apply to contracts worth less than $100,000 or companies with fewer than 10 employees. The law is in response to a Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel. The BDS movement promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israeli institutions and businesses in what it says is a nonviolent campaign against Israeli abuses against Palestinians.


Selling edible medical marijuana shaped like fruit, gummy bears, cartoons or other characters that might be attractive to children will be banned beginning Aug. 28. Circles, squares or other shapes are allowed.


Legislation signed by the governor will provide government health care coverage for postpartum depression to low-income new mothers for up to a year. Currently those mothers only get two months of coverage. The state still needs to get approval from the federal government to make the change, and it’s up to lawmakers to budget enough money to fund the coverage.


Missouri hospitals will be required to perform rape kits when requested under another new law. Currently, few nurses are certified to perform rape kits. Advocates say that means sexual assault victims sometimes must drive hours away to get a kit. DNA samples and other evidence of sexual assault gathered in rape kits can be used by law enforcement and prosecutors to catch and convict rapists. Another provision in the law will require the state Public Safety Department to store untested rape kits in a centralized location.


Vaping will be banned in and around public schools and school buses beginning Aug. 28.

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