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27 January 2012

Engler: Expanding Missouri's Automotive Supply Industry and Protecting the Elderly

This week we debated two high-profile bills on the Senate floor, Senate Bill 464, which prohibits the state from establishing health insurance exchanges unless specific requirements are met, and Senate Bill 592, which revises the law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination. Both of these are very controversial bills; we had our first filibuster while debating SB 592.

Typically, contentious legislation is considered later on in the session, but apparently not this year. It’s too early in the legislative session to move the previous question, a rarely used procedure to end a filibuster by bringing a measure to a vote, so I predict it’ll be difficult getting both of these bills through the chambers without major compromise. Needless to say, much work is left to be done.

I introduced Senate Bill 691 this week, which would provide economic incentives to help automotive suppliers expand and bring new companies to Missouri. The American automotive industry has made a huge comeback in recent years, including automotive suppliers. These businesses are a driving force behind our state’s economy. Auto supply companies like TG Missouri Corporation and Siegel-Robert, Inc. employ hundreds of people. We have an incredible opportunity to help them expand and bring more suppliers to our state, creating new, quality jobs for Missourians.

The bill has drawn bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Victor Callahan. I’ll be working hard with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this bill to the finish line.

I also introduced Senate Bill 689, which would modify provisions relating to crimes against the elderly and disabled. We have a duty as a society to protect our most vulnerable members, not only from physical and mental abuse, but also from financial exploitation. Senate Bill 689 would add undue influence—using authority over an elderly or disabled person to take unfair advantage of that person—to the types of acts that constitute the crime of financial exploitation. This is an important bill that will increase protections for elderly and disabled people across the state.

There was an ugly incident in the Capitol this week involving an unknown person putting stickers of gun sights on the name plates of some Democratic senators and one Republican House member. My Senate colleagues and I immediately condemned this disgusting act. No one should be subject to vague threats. The Capitol is a place of civilized debate, not scare tactics, and incidents like this are unacceptable. The Capitol Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are working to find the perpetrator. I hope the individual responsible for this horrible act is punished appropriately.

I was proud to sponsor Charles R. Giessing of Farmington during his gubernatorial appointment to the Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigator Examiners. This board handles the licensing of prospective and current private investigators, among other duties. The Senate gave its confirmation to Charlie on Jan. 25, and I’m confident he’ll do a fantastic job representing southeast Missouri on the board.

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