Representative Ed Lewis's Capitol Report

July 01, 2022

Celebrating Our Independence

This July 4th marks the 246th year since our nation first declared its independence from Great Britain, when our founding fathers ratified our Declaration of Independence, which is one of the greatest documents ever written in the history of our world.

In 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, saying that the day on which the Second Continental Congress approved the language of the Declaration of Independence should be “the most memorable epoch in the history of America… and ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

That day he meant was July 2, 1776, but it wasn’t until two days later that Congress finally approved and signed the document, which is why we mark the celebration on the 4th day of July, with all of the pomp and circumstance that our former president could have hoped for: a celebration of liberty, of freedom and joy, spanning from sea to shining sea.

As we gather together with our family and friends to celebrate with barbecues, fireworks, swimming, carnivals and parades, it’s important to remember just what this holiday means to us. Each year, we reflect on what the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” mean to each of us. We remember the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom, whose sacrifices have ensured and secured the way of life we treasure so dearly.

Together we dream of a better tomorrow, one where all Americans can live and prosper in ways that those who came before us could only dream of. So as we commemorate this anniversary, take the time to be with those you love, to enjoy the liberty, freedom and rights we are so blessed to have, and honor and remember those who have given so much.

May God bless you and these United States.

“No Patient Left Alone Act” Signed Into Law

HCS HB2116 (which contains HB2221) which is known as the No Patient Left Alone Act was signed into law by Governor Parson on Thursday, June 30th. This bill ensures that anyone in a hospital or a nursing home must be allowed to have a visitor even during a state of emergency. It sets up guidelines which must be followed so that patients in a hospital or residence of a nursing home can have a loved visit and advocate for them at all times.

“This bill was my highest priority this session because of my experience and the experiences of others not being able to visit and advocate for their loved ones in our hospitals.” Representative Ed Lewis said, “I sponsored this bill so that no person would be left alone in a hospital without an advocate”. This bill will go into effect August 28, 2022.

Election Integrity Legislation Signed Into Law

During the 2022 legislative session the Missouri General Assembly approved a bill designed to ensure safe, secure elections with timely, accurate results. This week that legislation was signed into law, along with four other bills, by Gov. Mike Parson.

HB 1878 will require Missourians to present a photo ID when they go to vote, but will also allow people without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to be counted, election officials would have to verify the voter’s signature based on voter records, or the voter would need to return later that day with a valid form of identification.

The bill also requires the use of hand-marked paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines, mandates the use of air-gapped election equipment that prevents the possibility of electronic manipulation, authorizes the Secretary of State to audit election results, and requires all election authorities or political subdivisions to have cybersecurity reviews. The bill also allows no-excuse absentee voting up to two weeks prior to the date of an election, bans private donations to fund elections, and eliminates the Presidential Preference Primary and establishes Missouri as a caucus state.

In signing the bill, Gov. Parson said, "In 2020 and years prior, Missouri has conducted free, fair, and secure elections, but with changing technologies and new emerging threats, we want to ensure they remain that way. HB 1878 strengthens our election processes and gives Missourians confidence that their voices are being accurately and securely recorded at the ballot box."

The bill’s sponsor added, “Our election system is a cornerstone of our Republic. Faith and confidence in the process is a solemn responsibility by voters themselves and those conducting elections. A photo ID requirement is but one common sense measure the vast majority of Missourians support."

On Thursday, Governor Parson signed into HB 2116, the No Patient Left Alone Act. HB 2116 contains my HB 2221. This bill ensures that anyone in a hospital or nursing home must have a visitor even during a state of emergency.