I’m happy to report that the Missouri State Fair kicked off with record crowds over the opening weekend. The strong crowds have continued throughout the following days. Again, besides a very strong line up at the Grandstand, there are lots of exhibits, contests, displays, livestock shows, and many other events. You can look at the full schedule at http://www.mostatefair.com/. Come home and enjoy some Fair!
Once again and as promised, this week includes three additional TAFP’d bills summarized below. More TAFP’d bill summaries will follow in the weeks to come. Finally, before Veto Session in September, the governor’s actions on all bills will be reviewed.
The Big Blackout is Monday
As mentioned previously, hundreds of thousands of tourists will make their way to Missouri this weekend and next week to participate in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. On Monday the moon will obstruct the light of the sun to create a total solar eclipse. The Missouri Division of Tourism estimates the state could have as many as 1.3 million visitors for the day because Missouri is one of ten states in the direct line of the eclipse.
The last total solar eclipse that was visible in the continental United States took place in 1979, and the last eclipse that was visible in Missouri occurred in 1869. The center of the 2017 eclipse will travel directly from St. Joseph to Perryville, and the moon will cast a seventy-mile-wide shadow over many cities and counties in Missouri. The eclipse will happen at 11:40 a.m. on August 21 on the western border of Missouri and at 11:51 a.m. on the eastern border of the state, the total eclipse will at 1:10 p.m. in Marshall and should last a little over two minutes. Please note: times will vary slightly based on your viewing location. For more exact times, visit: https://www.marshallmosolareclipse.com/eclipse-times-marshall-mo
During the eclipse, day turns to night, stars can be seen in the sky, insects chirp, the temperature cools, the sun produces a halo effect around the black orb of the moon, and the sky on the horizon in every direction is the color of a sunset. Anyone interested in viewing the eclipse should keep in mind that the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun as they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.
Because of the huge influx of visitors, the Missouri Department of Transportation is expecting heavy traffic congestion in cities and areas along the path of the eclipse. Individuals who plan to travel on August 21 should be aware of the following safe driving tips recommended by the state transportation department:
- Don’t stop along interstates or roads and don’t park on the shoulder.
- Exit the road and find a safe place to stop and watch or photograph the eclipse.
- Pay attention. Distracted driving is very dangerous, particularly during this time of increased traffic on the roadways.
- Never take photographs while driving.
- See and be seen. Turn your headlights on and do not rely on your vehicle’s auto headlight setting.
- Watch out for extra pedestrians and cyclists along smaller roads before, during and after the event. People may park randomly and walk along roads, particularly in the hour before the eclipse to get the best viewing.
- Prepare for congestion especially on the interstates in the path of totality the day before, day of and day after the eclipse.
- Don’t wear “eclipse glasses” while you’re driving.
- Avoid travel during the eclipse or in the area of the main path if you can.
- In the event of a non-injury traffic crash, move your vehicles off the roadway to a safe location.
- Check traffic conditions statewide on the Missouri Department of Transportation’s online Traveler Information Map. It’s also available as a free app: for iPhones and Androids.
Governor Launches Initiative to Cut Bureaucratic Red Tape
Governor Greitens recently started a new effort to remove the burdensome regulations and rules that too often stifle business growth and innovation. His office launched the NoMORedTape website to give Missourians an opportunity to submit recommendations for action to cut government red tape.
In announcing the new initiative, the governor noted that Missouri has more than 113,000 regulatory requirements and that Missouri’s regulations have more than 7.5 million words, which equates to 40 dictionaries’ worth of red tape. In total, Missouri’s current amount of regulations would require 400 hours of reading to review. Greitens noted that a small business owner from Bolivar pointed out a Missouri regulation that required his business to have a landline phone, which cost him $1,500 a year. The governor responded by directing the Department of Revenue to remove the requirement the next day.
Now, the governor is asking Missourians to make their voices heard on the issue and share suggestions that can cut even more of Missouri’s bureaucratic red tape. Anyone interested in making a suggestion should visit www.NoMORedTape.com where they can easily submit their recommendations to help make government even smaller and more efficient.
Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed Bills
SB 139 (Signed by Governor: 6/30) - Modifies provisions relating to health care
This act allows a physician to prescribe epinephrine (EPI) auto-injectors in the name of an authorized entity for use in certain emergency situations. Pharmacists, physicians, and other persons authorized to dispense prescription medications may dispense EPI auto-injectors under a prescription issued in the name of an authorized entity. An "authorized entity" is defined as any entity or organization at or in connection with locations where allergens capable of causing anaphylaxis may be present, including but not limited to restaurants, recreation camps, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, and sports arenas.
This act also creates, among other provisions, the Rx Cares for Missouri Program to be administered by the Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Department of Health and Senior Services. The goals of the program are to promote medication safety and prevent prescription drug abuse. The Board may expend funds appropriated to the Board to private and public entities for the development of programs and education in order to meet these goals. Funds shall not be used for any state prescription drug monitoring program.
SB 160 (Signed by Governor: 6/22) - Modifies provisions relating to child protection
This act establishes and enumerates the Foster Care Bill of Rights. The Children's Division shall provide every school-aged foster child and his or her foster parent with an age-appropriate orientation and explanation of the bill of rights, as well as make them readily available and easily accessible online. Additionally, every Children's Division office, residential care facility, child placing agency, or other agency involved in the care and placement of foster children shall post the bill of rights in the office, facility, or agency.
This act also modifies foster child placement statutes to expand the definition of "relative" to include a person who is not related to the child, but has a close relationship with the child or child's family, as well as modifies the order or preference for placement to include those relatives unrelated by blood or affinity within the third degree.
SB 161 (Signed by Governor: 6/20) - Establishes the Ozark Exploration Bicentennial Commission
This act creates the Ozark Exploration Bicentennial Commission, with membership as outlined in the act. The act creates the "Ozark Exploration Bicentennial Fund" to hold any state or federal appropriations, gifts, or other moneys for use by the Commission. The duties of the Commission include organizing and coordinating efforts relating to the bicentennial celebration of the exploration of the Ozarks in 1819 as well as promoting public awareness of the significance of his exploration. The Commission shall be dissolved on June 30, 2019.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.
This past Tuesday Johnson County Spirit Trail supporters put shovels to the ground in a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony signaling the start of the construction process for the four mile long segment that will extend from the Lake Ridge subdivision to the Knob Noster State Park along Route DD. I was honored to join the festivities!