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St. Francois, Ste. Gen projects move forward

St. Francois, Ste. Gen projects move forward

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Dale Wright (Wide)

Rep. Dale Wright

Gov. Mike Parson has given the final approval and signed into law HB 1330 which will allow several projects to move forward, particularly two projects of great economic importance to St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve counties.

Under HB 1330, land sold to the city of Farmington would be allowed to be properly conveyed to the city and fix a legal issue, as a reversion clause in the original contract prevented the sale or transfer of the property by Farmington for economic development.

With the passage of this bill, the Farmington Industrial Park plans can now continue moving forward while giving all of the companies currently located there a clean title and now allowing for any future sales and development of this property which will promote industry and economic growth to our area.

HB 1330 also allowed for the conveyance of three buildings of state property to be officially moved under the federal Department of the Interior and National Parks Service to help establish the National Historic Park at Ste. Genevieve. The passage of this new law will greatly benefit our district and the state as it will generate valuable tourism interest here in Ste. Genevieve and our surrounding area.

Tourism has been ranked as one of the most important revenue and job-producing industries in the state, just behind agriculture, and I’m excited about the opportunity that this presents for further growth and progress.” The three buildings to be conveyed are:

• The Felix Vallé House, built in 1818

• The Dr. Benjamin Shaw House, built around 1819

• The Green Tree Tavern is the oldest house west of the Mississippi, built in 1790

HB 1414 legislation to protect state's most vulnerable children

On Monday, July 13th Governor Mike Parson signed into law House Bill 1414 which gives Missouri's most vulnerable children additional protections and better opportunities for healthy lives.

The legislation reforms Missouri's foster care system and provides additional help to homeless children. It received overwhelming bipartisan support during the abbreviated 2020 legislative session. The legislature prioritized our most vulnerable children. This bill improves transparency, modernizes, and expands best practices to ensure that the foster care system remains focused on the best interests of each child.”

The bill includes key provisions to protect children throughout Missouri. Under the bill, homeless youth will have access to a birth certificate for free, have access to health coverage through Medicaid, and will be able to seek mental health care. The bill also clarifies that a child’s attendance in court hearings should only take place when the judge and family support believe it’s in the best interest of the child.

The legislation makes significant changes to the state's system of foster care by creating temporary alternative placement agreements to provide services to parents and family placement to ensure safety of children not brought into foster care. The bill also ensures risk assessments within 72 hours of child abuse and neglect reports. It also ensures foster parents have access, at the time of placement, to full medical records of a child placed with them.

The bill also repairs a background check duplication issue for child care providers and allows for non-expiring child care licenses. With Governor Parson’s signature the bill is set to become law on August 28.

SB 569 legislation will protect victims of sexual assault

Governor Parson signed legislation which ensures justice is served for victims of sexual assault. The bill is meant to protect the rights of victims by requiring all hospitals to provide rape kits, giving survivors access to a tracking system for sexual assault evidence, and creating a Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.

The goal of the legislation is to ensure allegations of sexual assault are quickly and accurately investigated, protect victims from being further victimized, and take important steps to protect the rights of victims and help bring those who have committed assault to justice.

The State Attorney General found that more than 6,000 Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kits remain untested in Missouri. The legislation approved by the General Assembly gives victims of sexual assault access to a secure electronic tracking system for these SAFE kits.

Victims will be able to track the status of their kit throughout the legal process. The bill also requires the Department of Public Safety to develop a centralized repository for evidence that is temperature-controlled to preserve the integrity of the kits and diminish degradation.

The bill establishes the Justice for Survivors Act which directs the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a statewide telehealth network to provide forensic exams for victims of sexual assault. The measure is meant to address the fact that some hospitals are unable to conduct a complete forensic examination or properly collect evidence because they do not have a sexual assault nurse examiner on staff.

The Justice for Survivors Act requires all hospitals to provide a forensic exam for victims of sexual assault by 2023. The act would provide assistance with in-person training on how to perform rape kits, and 24/7 access to a certified sexual assault examiner via the telehealth network.

The bill also establishes the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which includes rights and protections for survivors of sexual assault during any medical examination and interactions with law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney.

The bill includes the right to consult with employees or volunteers of rape crisis centers during any examination or interview, the right to receive notice of these rights prior to an examination or interview, the right to a prompt analysis of the forensic evidence, the right to shower at no cost after a forensic exam and the right to choose the gender of the law enforcement officer who interviews them.

The bill is set to become law on Aug. 28.

HB 1869 — Legislation to combat drug trafficking

Governor Mike Parson has signed legislation that will increase penalties for trafficking the dangerous drug fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and the use of which can easily result in overdoses.

The bill will make it a Class B felony to knowingly distribute, make, or attempt to distribute or make, more than 10 milligrams of fentanyl or its derivatives. Making or distributing 20 or more milligrams will be a Class A felony. The legislation will also increase the penalties for trafficking one gram or more of Rohypnol or any amount of GHB, both of which are often used in sex crimes. The bill also includes offenses for possessing and purchasing the dangerous drugs.

The legislation also contains provisions that will require individuals affiliated with licensed or certified medical marijuana facilities to submit fingerprints to the Highway Patrol for a state and federal criminal background check. The state constitution requires the state health department to verify these individuals have not committed a disqualifying felony, but the legislation was necessary to give the department access to the FBI’s national fingerprint database.

The bill will also prohibit the sale of edible marijuana-infused products that are designed, produced, or marketed in a manner to appeal to persons under 18 years of age, including candies, gummies, lollipops, cotton candy, or products in the shape of a human, animal, or fruit.

HB 1682 – Wide-ranging health care bill signed into law

Another bill approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Parson contains a number of provisions meant to improve the health and well-being of Missourians.

The bill establishes the Long-Term Care Dignity Act to help Missourians save money for the care their loved ones will need later in life. The act will allow an individual to open a long-term care savings account to be used to pay a qualified beneficiary’s eligible long-term care expenses.

HB 1387 & 1482: Allows electronic monitoring in long-term care facilities

The governor has signed legislation that will help Missourians monitor the care of their loved ones. The bill establishes the “Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act.” It allows video cameras to be installed in long-term care facilities so that family members can monitor the care of their loved ones.

The issue grew out of safety concerns of Missourians with loved ones in long-term care facilities and became even more important when COVID-19 caused facilities to close their doors to visitors. With this legislative fix, families can request installation of monitoring equipment so they can keep closer tabs on a patient’s care.

SB 676: Provides substantive tax relief

A bill approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor will ensure tax fairness for Missourians.

One provision in the bill will protect Missourians from being blindsided with dramatic property assessment increases. The bill is meant to provide citizens with a reasonable timetable to appeal increases in assessed value. It will clarify deadlines and guarantee that taxpayers will always have at least a month to appeal an assessment increase.

The legislation also provides additional protections to homeowners against abusive assessments. The bill requires county assessors to conduct a physical inspection of real estate prior to increasing a property’s assessment more than 15 percent. It also shifts the burden of establishing higher property values to assessors.

Another provision in the bill is meant to protect Missourians’ stimulus payments from state income tax. The stimulus payments are not subject to federal income taxes, and the change that has now been signed by the governor will enact a similar policy for Missouri tax law.

SB 656: Recognition for veterans

A bill signed into law by the Governor seeks to recognize the contributions of the state’s veterans. The bill designates August 19 of each year as Honor Guard Appreciation Day. June 6 of each year will be Ghost Army Recognition Day. The bill also designates the 22nd day of each month as Buddy Check 22 Day to encourage citizens to check in on veterans and to raise awareness of the problem of suicide facing military personnel.

Additionally, the bill creates the Meritorious Service Medal special license plate and the Central Missouri Honor Flight special license plate. The bill also exempts Purple Heart special license plates from vehicle registration fees for the first set of plates issued.

The bill also requires the Missouri Veterans' Commission to seek out business organizations that are interested in hiring veterans for available job opportunities.

If you have any questions or would like any additional information on any of the bills that have passed, please call my office at 573-751-3455 or email your questions to dale.wright@house.mo.gov.

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