The following list represents a few of the most recent legislative activities:
- It was very gratifying to get my first bill, HB 591 -the dental teaching license, passed with no other amendments attached. I’ve been told that it’s rare for a Freshman legislator to get a bill passed in a “clean-bill” condition.
- HB 73 is known as the "TANF Child Protection and Drug Free Home Act". It requires Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants and recipients to be drug tested when a case worker has a reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use. Individuals who fail or refuse the test would receive benefits only by completing a substance abuse treatment program and not failing another test.
Representative Ellen Brandom of Sikeston has sponsored this bill for the past three years. It has always passed in the House but failed in the Senate. This year she got it through! I believe this is a very important piece of legislation. We will be protecting the children in a drug-problem household plus making the parents with the drug problem get their lives straight for the sake of their families. I was very excited that this bill passed by both houses.
- HB 340 should be of particular interest to Cape Girardeau County leaders. This bill was passed with a Senate amendment specific to Cape Girardeau. It allows counties of any classification to erect and maintain a jail or holding cell facility at a site other than the county seat. (Currently, only fourth classification and certain third classification counties are allowed this option.)
- The House Committee Substitute for SB 243 -which modifies provisions relating to educational resources and services- passed the House and is on its way to the Governor to sign. This bill is important to the schools in our state that are struggling in the current educational system. We are blessed in that the Cape Girardeau and Perry Counties’ schools are excellent schools, graduating well-prepared students.
STATE–WIDE NEWSThe Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is making life easier for Southeast Missouri flood victims by providing two waivers: One waiver gives residents and communities affected by flooding additional flexibility in cleaning up. It will allow vegetative waste, such as brush and yard waste, which normally is excluded from permitted sanitary landfills, to be taken to such landfills if the landfill agrees to accept the waste.
The other will waive all camping fees for displaced families. Camping fees will be waived at the Trail of Tears State Park near Jackson and Lake Wappapello State Park. This first-come-first-served, 30-day waiver applies to those with access to a camper and their own camping equipment. Persons requesting the fee-waiver need to provide documentation form a governmental or charitable organization certifying that they have been displaced by flooding in a declared Missouri county. Such persons are encouraged to contact the park superintendent at either Trail of Tears State Park (573-290-5340) or Lake Wappapello State Park (573-297-3232) to make arrangements for camping.
The department also is encouraging residents to recycle appliances damaged in the storm, but in cases where it is impractical to separate the appliances from other storm debris, the department is also allowing these items to be taken to a landfill. However, the landfill must be willing to accept the appliances.
DNR is calling on cities and counties to coordinate collection of damaged appliances so refrigerants can be legally recovered from air conditioners, freezers and refrigerators before recycling.
The waiver also allows for the burning of vegetative waste resulting from the storms as long as it is burned on the property where it originated. For additional information regarding the wavier -which will be in effect until May 23- link here to view the Executive Order and for a fact sheet on proper disposal of storm debris and other related information use this link: Natural Disaster Resources.
Residents or businesses involved in storm debris cleanup should call the Department of Natural Resource’s Southeast Regional Office at 573-840-9750 for additional information or clarification of the waiver.
There will be a MODOT public forum 4-6 p.m., May 18 at the Perryville Park Center to discuss the transportation department’s 5-year plan which includes closing several maintenance facilities in Southeast Missouri.