This week in the Missouri Senate, I had the opportunity to present a legislative proposal I believe could lighten one burden off of Missourians in a moment of trauma. Senate Bill 198 provides a one-time waiver of the fee for a duplicate copy of a birth certificate for victims of domestic violence.
I speak from personal experience when I say a person doesn’t have the time or opportunity to collect their things in the moment their marriage or domestic partnership collapses. When a person — usually, a woman — flees a domestic violence situation, often their birth certificate and other important documents are left behind. As the victim begins the process of rebuilding their life, they’ll need a birth certificate to reestablish banking, rent an apartment or replace their driver’s license. The legislation I sponsored won’t restore the relationship or heal the wounds, but it will save the victim the modest $15 fee for a replacement birth certificate. That might not seem like much, but for a person who lost everything, it matters.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which held the hearing on SB 198 this week, also took testimony on a different bill that highlighted a problem so shocking, I asked to become a co-sponsor. Senate Bill 106 prohibits unauthorized prostate, anal or pelvic examinations of a patient under anesthesia except when ordered by a court, or when medically necessary. I was absolutely floored when the bill’s sponsor explained patients at teaching hospitals in Missouri have been subjected to these types of intrusive examinations while under sedation, without their permission. Understandably, patients who learn about these procedures after the fact feel violated. The experience can be especially traumatic to survivors of sexual assault. This legislation will prohibit these incredibly personal medical procedures without prior explicit informed consent.
On a happier note, I had the opportunity to present Senate Bill 127 to the Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee this week. This legislation designates the Missouri portion of the new Highway 51 bridge across the Mississippi River in Perry County as the “Don Welge Memorial Bridge.”
An Illinois businessman, Welge was also a champion of economic activity in Southeast Missouri and a tireless proponent of the new bridge. My legislation directs MoDOT to collaborate with the Illinois Transportation Department to place and maintain memorial markers, but the signs themselves will be paid for by private donations. Hardly a year goes by that the Legislature doesn’t fill a bill with dozens of highway designations honoring Missourians from across the state. Already, two more highway markers have been added to the SB 127, so my bill could continue to grow before the session is over.
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Holly Thompson Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to Holly.Rehder@senate.mo.gov or visit www.senate.mo.gov/Rehder.