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Legislature Adjourns for Spring Recess
With the General Assembly adjourning for spring recess, we are now officially at the half-way point of the legislative session. Big issues like the budget and congressional redistricting are sure to come up in the weeks ahead, and many more issues will be discussed and debated on the Senate floor before the end of session on May 13.
One measure I am sponsoring that made progress this week was Senate Bill 325. The legislation would address a problem that affected a nursing home in our area. A nurse at a facility in the district lost her license after failing to pay her taxes. However, she did not inform her employer and continued to work. When this was discovered months later, the nursing home was fined $60,000 for employing an unlicensed worker.
Senate Bill 325 would create a system in the state that businesses could utilize that would notify a licensee’s employer of a change in the licensee’s license status. The measure was approved by the Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee. With this passing vote, committee members recommend that SB 325 move to the full Senate for debate.
Senate Bill 387 was heard in the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last week. The legislation allows the court to determine if a non-violent offender would either have to post bail or be required to wear an electronic monitoring device in lieu of bail. The cost of the electronic monitoring could be billed to the offender at up to $8 a day.
This legislation is important because it saves counties money that they would otherwise have to spend housing these offenders. In addition, these are cases where the individual has committed a minor offense, and keeping them from going to work and getting a paycheck hurts more than helps. The technology on these electronic monitoring systems is very impressive, with corrections officials actually being able to track the location of the offender (to ensure they are following the conditions of their release). In DWI cases, these tracking devices can actually sense if the offender has consumed alcohol.
Other measures moving forward in the process recently include:
Senate Bill 220, which would modify liens for certain design professionals. The bill received initial approval in the Senate this week.
Senate Bill 306, which would modify laws relating to the administration of credit unions. The bill received initial approval from the Senate this week.
Thank You to Our Social Workers
I was honored this week to receive the Senate Legislator of the Year for 2011 award from the Missouri Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The award recognizes legislators for their commitment to the promotion of social service and social work issues. Our social workers are a key part of improving lives in our state, and I have great respect for these dedicated professionals.
The award coincided with National Social Work Month, a month set aside to raise awareness of the jobs of social workers and all of the hard work they do here in our state.
Honoring the Last WWI Veteran
On Tuesday, March 15, flags throughout the state flew at half-staff in honor of Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of the First World War. Buckles was a native of our state, born in Bethany in Harrison County and living as a child in Vernon County. He passed away on Feb. 27 at the age of 110.
The passing of Frank Buckles marks the passing of an entire generation of those who served this great country in World War I. The event also reminds me of the many soldiers, sailor, airmen, and Marines who continue to follow in the tradition of putting their country first. I am deeply thankful for the veterans of yesterday and today.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.