Diana Thompson, executive director of The Lighthouse Shelter in Marshall, visited Sen. Hoskins to discuss appropriations on behalf of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Before a bill can become law, it must first be considered by one of the Senate’s committees. As bills are brought before a committee, the sponsor explains the measure and witnesses are called to speak in favor or opposition of the proposed law. Committee hearings provide an opportunity for people and groups with an interest in the bill to have their opinions heard.
This past week, my schedule was full, as a number of bills I sponsored were presented to committees. I was fortunate to have so many pieces of legislation acted upon early in the session. There’s still a long way to go before any of these bills become law, but the process has begun. I’ll keep you posted on future development. Here’s the status of these bills so far:
Senate Bill 43: This measure establishes the Missouri Lottery Control Act and allows the State Lottery Commission to implement a system of game terminals statewide. My primary goal in filing this legislation is to raise revenue for elementary and secondary education, as well as for Missouri community colleges and universities. The fiscal note for this bill estimates video lottery terminals, or VLTs, will generate $36 million the first year, and bring in more than $125 million by year three of the program.
Similar video lottery systems are already in use in Illinois and several other states. The Progress and Development Committee heard testimony from a number of convenience store operators who currently have VLTs in their facilities. One witness testified that the additional income from hosting the lottery terminal was sufficient to prevent the closure of a previously poorly performing location.
The committee also heard testimony from witnesses who described so-called “grey” machines that currently skirt gambling laws in many locations throughout Missouri. Providing another reason for the bill’s passage, officials from the Missouri Lottery said the state loses about $1 million a year in lost lottery ticket sales due to illegal machines located along Interstate 44.
Senate Bill 44: This measure to legalize sports wagering in Missouri was heard by the Small Business and Industry Committee last week. This week, the committee approved a “Do Pass” recommendation and sent the bill onto the full Senate for further action.
Senate Bill 45: This bill requires insurance providers to cover medically necessary therapeutic care for children diagnosed with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities. This measure expands legislation passed in a previous session that required insurers to pay for treatments related to autism disorders. The previous bill left nearly half of Missouri children diagnosed with developmental and physical disabilities uninsured. This bill will correct that issue.
Timely and appropriate therapy can help a child adapt to, if not overcome, their disability, enabling them to live independently and contribute to society as an adult. The Senate Health and Pensions Committee heard moving testimony from a number of witnesses who spoke of the positive impacts therapy has on the lives of children with disabilities.
Senate Bill 106: Missouri law requires written permission from one parent or guardian before a minor may obtain an abortion. This measure adds the requirement that the consenting parent or guardian notify any other custodial parent or guardian prior to the procedure. The bill only requires notification, not consent. The Seniors, Families and Children Committee heard spirited discussion from people in favor and opposed to this measure.
Senate Bill 107: If this measure becomes law, falsely representing an untrained animal as a “service dog” in order to obtain accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act would be a misdemeanor. Examples of misrepresenting a service dog could include providing false documents or fitting a service dog collar, harness or sign to an animal that was not trained to perform a disability-related task.
This bill, which was presented to the Agriculture Committee, would also make it illegal to misrepresent an assistance or emotional support animal in order to receive accommodations under the Fair Housing or Rehabilitation Acts.
Senate Bill 194: Flying an unmanned “drone” aircraft within 300 feet of a correctional facility would be illegal once SB194 is signed into law. This measure is intended to prevent drones from being used to aid escapes or deliver contraband to inmates.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.