The day after Congress passed their health care bill, I was testifying before a Missouri Senate Committee on my legislation, Senate Bill 747, which would prohibit any health insurance exchanges in Missouri, including federally mandated insurance exchanges, from allowing abortions using taxpayer dollars.
Language from SB 747 was eventually added into Senate Bill 793, a bill I co-sponsored that modifies several provisions relating to abortion. If enacted, SB 793 requires a woman seeking an abortion to review printed material detailing the risks of the procedure to the mother and child, including photos that detail the child's life at two-week intervals. It also would give the mother the opportunity to hear the unborn child's heartbeat and view an ultrasound, all within 24 hours of the procedure.
In addition to written, informed consent, SB 793 would require the physician to explain alternative options and provide access to numerous counseling resources. Plus, it makes sure that the mother is reminded of the father's financial responsibility to take care of the child.
Despite our swift reaction to the federal attempts to circumvent our state's long-standing desire to reject using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, the governor is now dragging his feet when it comes to the will of the people. Senate Bill 793 sits on his desk waiting to be signed into law, and waiting to be the saving factor in many young lives.
I want to urge the governor to stop the delay and sign SB 793 so that it can become law as intended on August 28. If you would like to also persuade him to sign this critical legislation, I recommend you call his office at (573) 751-3222.
Like any discussion involving abortion, the debate in both chambers of the Legislature was heated and intense. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of elected officials supported this measure to get the expecting mother all the information we can give her and make sure that our hard-earned money isn't going to end defenseless lives.
We acted when it was time to act, because a real leader doesn't waste time when it comes to doing what is right. Now we hope that the governor will do the same.
Signing of Several MeasuresNew bills contain Stimulus Funding Oversight Committee and an extension of bond requirements
The Governor recently signed into law Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 1965.
Senate Bill 758, signed by the governor on July 7, requires bonds issued by the Bi-State Development Agency to mature in 40 years, rather than 30, as originally written. The agency, which is a partnership formed with the state of Illinois, facilitates development between the two states in a manner that is beneficial for both parties.
I'm pleased the governor has signed SB 758 because our state's future prosperity will be determined by smart investment in our state's waterways. The additional 10 years will free up more investment funding so that we can keep that boat floating in a positive direction.
Also signed into law was House Bill 1965, which contains language from his SB 757, and establishes the Joint Committee on Recovery Accountability and Transparency. This new committee will oversee the funding of projects within the federal economic stimulus act to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.
Specifically, the bill creates a committee of four members of the Senate and four members of the House of Representatives whose duties include the review of contracts, grant management, job creation, and state agency and departmental spending practices.
This committee will be critical to stopping the waste and fraud we normally associate with federal government spending. It's also going to make sure that the projects and companies that use these funds are accountable and good stewards of the taxpayer dollar.
Both measures take effect on Aug. 28.
If you have any questions or comments about this week's column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844.