Tuesday was Pro-Life Action day at the capitol. The halls were full of people advocating for pro-life issues. They made an attempt to visit every Representative and every Senator as well as having displays in the Rotunda. Wednesday was child Advocacy Day. I had a Joint Committee hearing at 8:30 A.M. and the Hymer and Goebel families were there to testify before the Committee about their Bundles of Hope program. The Hymer children, who are now adopted but were once foster children, have designed and implemented a program whereby they provide a backpack with pajamas, toothbrush and other essentials to every child that is removed from the home in nine counties around here. These children, the oldest of which is 13, thought up the program and run it themselves. Mackenzie and Mason Hymer along with Abbey and Mati Goebel gave a 20-minute presentation to a packed hearing room. In attendance along with our committee were the Director and Assistant Director of Children’s Division, the Assistant Director of the Juvenile Officers Association, the Assistant Director of Missouri Kids First, and the Director of the Children’s Trust Fund just to name a few. When Mason said that the idea came to him when he saw how frightened his little sister was when she was removed from their home with only the clothes she was wearing, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. They supply age appropriate essentials for every child removed from their homes and are now working on supplies for young adults who age out of the foster program. The funding for their program is mainly donations but they are reaching out to area churches and are working on getting a grant to help with costs. Their eventual goal is for this to become a statewide effort. From what I saw and heard last week, I have no doubt they will succeed!
The Senate completed their work on the budget and we will now go to conference to settle any differences before sending it to the Governor. We should accomplish this sometime in the next week or so. There are still some big items to take up on the House floor and I imagine next week we will tackle some of them.