We passed House Bill 1599 that Representative Phillips from Stone County has been working on for the past 5 years. It deals with adoptive rights. Since 1941 adoption records have been sealed and the only way an adoptee can locate their birth parents or vice versa is by a very expensive search process. Don’s bill would allow a parent or child to locate their relatives. In some cases, health issues could be uncovered that would otherwise be unknown.
After a lot of discussion before both votes, we passed Prescription Drug Monitoring. If it gets through the Senate, we will join the other 49 states in keeping track of prescriptions of restricted drugs. Currently, a person has the ability to “doctor shop” and gets scripts for drugs from several different doctors without them knowing it. This has added to the huge prescription pain killer abuse problem that is leading to increased heroin use among Missourians. There was a lot of talk about this being an intrusion of privacy, but in this case the benefits may outweigh the inconvenience.
The Paycheck Protection bill came back from the Senate with a couple of minor changes. After about two hours of debate, we sent it to the Governor. Because the House and Senate leaders are working together on legislation, we are able to finish the process much earlier this year. The advantage to this is that we won’t be rushed at the end of Session and be tempted to put several amendments on each bill. It also allows us to keep our bills to one subject, which makes them much better able to withstand the scrutiny of the courts.
The budget will be debated on the floor next week. The budget process began last June and committees worked all during the interim with the Departments to ascertain their needs for the coming year. Of course, there have been huge distractions, like the squabble at MU, but even with a few cuts here and there, it looks like it’s going to be a good effort.
Patrick Miller brought his TeenPact leaders back to the Capitol last week. They are an amazing bunch of future leaders from all over the country. They stayed most of the week working on their mock legislation and of course, Elaine took them on a tour to the Top of the Dome. I presented a Resolution to Tori Danielle Goostree from Rocky Comfort for her accomplishments on National History Day. I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than being able to recognize the young people for their efforts. With spring almost here, we will be getting school groups almost every week.
The Jasper-Newton County Lincoln Day celebration was Saturday night. We were able to hear from all four candidates for Governor, both candidates for Lieutenant Governor, both for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General. John Ashcroft was the Keynote Speaker. There were nearly 600 in attendance.