Missourians battling substance abuse will have more and better options to obtain the help they need under legislation signed into law this week. The bill to expand and improve Missouri’s treatment courts was approved by the General Assembly during an extraordinary session called by the governor in September.
The bill approved by lawmakers and signed by the governor consolidates Missouri’s treatment courts – adult treatment court, DWI court, family treatment court, juvenile treatment court, and veterans treatment court – and updates state statute to reflect the reality of the treatment court system today. It allows for the expansion of treatment courts to counties that don’t have them, and it allows an individual in a county without a treatment court to be transferred to one with a court as long as all parties agree to the transfer. Additionally, the bill requires the Treatment Court Coordinating Commission to establish standards and best practices for treatment courts.
Governor Parson said the legislation is an important component to the effort to keep Missouri’s prison population from growing out of control. He said, "The future of Missouri will depend on alternative sentencing. I'm not interested in building any more prisons as governor of the State of Missouri. I am more interested in getting people through alternative sentencing and getting them into the workforce."
The House sponsor of the bill noted that treatment courts are “bringing people back into society as productive citizens and restoring dignity and quality of life for many people that have lost that. This is not a get out of jail free card. This is a two-year-long arduous process you have to be fully invested in."
With the signing of the treatment court legislation, the governor also announced he would sign the other extraordinary session bill next week. The bill is designed to encourage more young people to pursue career paths in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and is meant to better prepare tomorrow’s workforce for the many unfilled computer science positions in the technology industry.
Safe at Home Program Highlighted During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
As Missouri continues to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month during October, Missouri’s Secretary of State is highlighting the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. The program was created in 2007 as a way to help maintain the safety of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, human trafficking or stalking.
Through the Safe at Home program, the secretary of state’s office provides a designated substitute address for survivors to use when creating new public records, as well as the option to securely forward mail to their confidential addresses. These services help keep survivors’ confidential addresses out of the hands of their assailants.
During the 2018 regular session, the secretary of state’s office worked with the legislature to expand the program. The bill (HB 1461) passed by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor added protection for victims of any crime who fear for their safety, and expanded protection for those who are living with the victim. House Bill 1461 also increased protection for participants in a custody trial and strengthened protection for participants trying to relocate a child.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said about the program, ““Participants in the Safe at Home program have often had their lives uprooted by fear. For 11 years, Safe at Home has helped to protect them from the threats they face every day. Our office remains dedicated to protecting survivors of abuse and advocating on their behalf.”
The program is being highlighted during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which serves as a time to learn about domestic violence; promote laws, policies and programs to improve services to survivors; and provide the necessary tools, resources, information and support to prevent domestic violence. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year.
The Safe at Home program has served more than 4,200 Missourians since it began in 2007. Currently there are approximately 1,600 people in the program. To learn more about the Safe at Home program, visit www.MoSafeAtHome.com or call 866-509-1409.
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I will be hosting a free Medicare Drug Plan Enrollment Event on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8 and 9 at the Mineral Area College (Tourism Building) from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. To make an appointment or if you have any questions, call 1-800-390-3330. Be sure and bring your Medicare card and a list of your prescriptions.