HB2069, which deals with record keeping and proper disposal of fetal remains after an abortion, is a good example. Even though it passed with only 35 no votes, there was some very spirited debate. The bill prohibits fetal remains from an abortion being sold or donated for medical research. There are provisions for testing for abnormalities and disease but it would halt the process of baby parts being used for experiments. It requires abortion clinics to keep accurate records of how the remains are disposed and by whom and make those records available.
HB1811 dealing with “breed specific” dog ordinances passed by a large margin. This bill keeps municipalities from banning one particular breed of dog. Some examples were given of owners having to get DNA samples to prove that their animal was not one of the targeted species. HB2332 deals with a problem that ranchers have had forever. It proposes to exempt a livestock owner of liability if an animal gets out of a fenced area through no fault of the owner. If an act of God (tree falling on a fence) or a car drives through the fence, or vandals cut the fence, the rancher couldn’t be held responsible. HB1943 seeks to redefine the “School Term” to a specific number of hours not days as it currently does. This would allow school districts to choose to extend their hours to enable a later start in the fall or an earlier out in the spring. It also deals with caps on the foundation Formula. HB1962 directs an additional $1 million dollars to the water patrol.
We passed several bills dealing with children. HB2379 provided for dyslexia screening in schools, HB2605 allows foster children 14 and older to be consulted before changing their status and HB2202 prohibits disclosure of exam results in child abuse cases without a court order.
All bills and Legislative action can be viewed at house.mo.gov by clicking on “bill tracking” and filling in the bill number. Bills can also be accessed by using the sponsor’s name or by subject.
One of the big challenges left for us is SJR39. This bill would put a religious freedom question on the ballot. The Senate has already passed the measure after a 39-hour filibuster. I heard it in committee on Tuesday evening. We started the hearing at 7:30 P.M. and it lasted until 2:00 A.M. It basically states that no one can be compelled by force of government to go against his or her religious beliefs. The State cannot impose penalties on individuals who refuse to provide goods or services based on their sincere religious beliefs. We heard compelling testimony from both sides of the argument for several hours. I made a closing statement saying basically that for 12 committee members to decide on this issue would be the height of arrogance, this needs to be decided by the voters. We will probably debate it next week.
I presented a Resolution to Dr. Scott and Susan Goldstein Thursday evening for their years of work and contributions to our schools. We are most fortunate to have people like them who are willing to devote endless hours to making their community a better place. McDonald County is blessed to have them and many others like them! We had a huge turnout Friday morning for a highway dedication honoring the David Thurman Family. Last week was the 25th Anniversary of his supreme sacrifice as a law enforcement officer. We presented the family with House and Senate Resolutions at the Community Center following the ceremony. Saturday evening we attended the Jr. ROTC Military Ball. We were honored to acknowledge Dianna Hall and Trystan Sumner who have joined the Missouri National Guard, and Chloe Moore who has joined the United States Marine Corps! As always, Major Griffiths and his capable staff had an excellent ceremony.