As the mid-point of the 2019 legislative session rapidly approaches, the Senate is busy perfecting legislation, passing bills and sending them on for review by the House of Representatives. March 1 was the last day bills could be introduced in the Senate, with 575 bills and resolutions submitted in the upper chamber this year. The House of Representatives has nearly 2,000 pieces of legislation of its own to review. A number of those measures will come before the Senate in the coming weeks. Both bodies consider far more bills than they pass, however. Few proposed laws survive the entire process of review, amendment and adoption by both chambers.
Bills moving through the process
Senate Bill 194, which makes it a criminal offense to knowingly operate an unmanned aircraft above the grounds of a prison, jail or mental health hospital, was passed by the Senate this week. Using a drone aircraft to deliver something that could harm an offender, patient or employee of any of these facilities would be a Class B felony under the measure. Using a drone to facilitate an escape would be punished as a Class C felony. In addition, it would be a Class D felony to deliver a controlled substance inside these institutions.
This week, the Senate also passed Senate Bill 45 and sent it to the House for consideration. This measure adds therapeutic care for developmental and physical disabilities to insurance mandates that Missouri law currently provides for autism spectrum disorders. The new coverage requirements would apply to policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2020. This legislation not only is the right thing to do for children, but it will benefit all Missourians as we give these young people the therapies they need to succeed in life, thereby reducing costs to taxpayers in the long run.
Senate Bill 283, which removes a sunset provision from the Veteran’s Survivor Grant Program is a bit closer to passage this week. The measure was taken up for perfection by the full Senate and then referred to the Fiscal Oversight Committee prior to third reading and, I hope, eventual passage by the body.
Recognizing Main Street success
It was my great pleasure this week to join the Missouri chapter of the American Planning Association in recognizing Main Street Chillicothe for its role in creating an “oasis in the heart of Chillicothe.” That’s how the planning association described Silver Moon Plaza, which was named one of three Great Places in Missouri for 2019.
During a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda, Chillicothe’s downtown development organization was honored for its transformation of a once-vacant lot across from the Livingston County Courthouse into a “dynamic and active community space.” The planning association says the plaza is a “go-to location” for prom photos, marriage proposals, weddings, band performances and festivals.
In addition to being named a 2019 Great Place in Missouri, the plaza project has been selected as one of 10 Great American Main Street Award semi-finalists by the National Main Street Center. Congratulations to Main Street Chillicothe and Ben Smith, the group’s executive director.
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