Missouri State Senate
Biography for Senator Dougherty

Senator Patrick Dougherty, Democrat-St. Louis City, District 4, began his legislative career in 1978 when he was elected to the Missouri House after beating a 12-year incumbent Democrat. He served in the House until he was elected to the Senate in a special election on January 24, 2001. He was sworn into office on January 31, 2001, and was re-elected to the Senate in the fall of 2002. He is now serving his last term as a legislator due to term limits.

During his career in the House, Pat Dougherty established himself as a champion of children's issues over years, and particularly, as he chaired the House Children, Youth and Families Committee. He sponsored dozens of pieces of legislation dealing with children and families and passed many of them. These included measures regarding: day care, abuse/neglect, immunizations, divorce/child custody, domestic violence, anti-stalking, women and children orders of protection and many more. He has received numerous awards while in the House (and the Senate) for his efforts on behalf of families and children.

While in the House, Pat chaired the Environment Committee and focused on efforts to improve the environment. He co-wrote and helped pass numerous pieces of legislation including laws to improve energy efficiency in state buildings, improve state vehicle fleet efficiency, codify new state solid waste laws and much more. Again, Pat has received many awards for these efforts.

Pat began to focus on cancer issues while in the House and has continued these efforts in the Senate. He helped pass the first bill in Missouri to require health insurance companies to cover breast cancer/mammogram screenings for women. He wrote legislation to also cover treatment for chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants for women who had breast cancer. Several years ago, Pat wrote and passed what became a national model bill that, in Missouri, required health insurance companies to cover cancer screenings for colon, uterine and prostate cancer using the American Cancer Society guidelines. In 2002, Senator Dougherty helped write and pass bills to require health insurance coverage of clinical trials as well as second opinions for those diagnosed with cancer.

During his tenure in the Senate, Sen. Dougherty has focused on the issues of Health Care, Medicaid, Cancer, Nursing Home Reform, Foster Care Reform and Child Protection, Domestic Violence, Utility and Insurance Reform, Animal Welfare as well as issues related to St. Louis.

Shortly after coming to the Senate, Sen. Dougherty, as a "freshman" Senator, was appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees the state budget. He is the ranking Democrat on this Committee. While fighting for many programs during his tenure on the committee, Sen. Dougherty was known for his willingness and ability to work closely with both parties to fashion support for items even in the midst of controversy.

Of special note is the compromise he helped fashion to provide some protection to children in the CHIPS program during the 2005 medicaid cuts. During 2006, he again helped fashion change to the CHIPS premiums to help parents as well as getting money for immunizations, lead protection, infant mortality programs, cord blood and minority outreach, afro-american historical preservation and others.

While in the Senate especially, Sen. Dougherty has helped lead the fight to protect the elderly, children, the working poor and the disabled who rely on Medicaid for their access to health care. And he has been a significant player during some of the Senate's most challenging and significant debates in this new century: nursing home reform in 2003, foster care & child protection reform in 2004 and the cutting of the Medicaid program in 2005 & 2006.

In the current Session (2006), Senator Dougherty focused on Medicaid program changes. While supporting greater efforts on prevention, chronic disease management and technology, he kept a focus on the vast numbers of uninsured in the forefront. He advocated making sure that any new changes would assist individuals and employers to afford health insurance. Keeping the focus on one of the stated tenants of the Medicaid Reform Commission-Access to Affordable Health Insurance for All Missourians was a focus for the Senator.

Sen. Dougherty also introduced legislation and tried to get the Senate to address issues on cell phone and land line phone records theft…a dangerous and growing part of the bigger issue of identity theft. Missouri needs laws to address this growing menace to our privacy. Utility surcharges for trying to save energy and money are a focus of the Senator's. His legislation would have repealed a law which allows natural gas companies to skip the regular, big rate cases and instead lets them petition the Public Service Commission to have our gas bills surcharged a special fee.

Clinical Trials bill passed in 2006. Cancer issues were again part of the Senator's efforts. He was successful in passing a much-needed addition to Missouri's laws requiring that the routine costs associated with participation in a clinical trial be covered by insurance. This should help encourage more Missourians to be in trials. He also filed legislation increasing the ability of lower economic income persons and uninsured to get insurance coverage if they are diagnosed the cancer.

2005 was the year of so called reforms. Sen. Dougherty helped lead the Senate Democrats' efforts to fight the cutting of Medicaid. In the end, over 100,000 of our fellow Missourians were cut off health care coverage. The legislation and the appropriations reduced eligibility, reduced the poverty level for many seniors and disabled, eliminated coverage for almost 68,000 working men and women, and resulted in over 40,000 no longer having coverage in the Medicaid and CHIPS programs. The legislation even mandated the elimination of the Medicaid Program by 2008 in Missouri.

The Medicaid Reform Commission mandated during the regular session began meeting in the summer of 2005 and culminating in a report to the General Assembly in December. It contains numerous recommendations. Sen. Dougherty was part of this commission and kept a constant vigil on the impacts of the commission's recommendations for the upcoming session.

In 2002 he passed legislation allowing young teenagers to make donations of blood and bone marrow. His daughter Elizabeth who, at the time, was a senior in high school initiated this. She brought the idea to her dad, researched the proposal, testified before the Senate and helped her father gain support for this important health care bill, which was signed into law the same year.

During the 2001 and 2002 legislative sessions, Sen. Dougherty helped write and pass legislation: to revise the Utilicare laws of the state which help the elderly and poor with energy assistance when it is very cold or tremendously hot; passed a new law to require lead poisoning screenings for all children at risk and obtained $1.3 million to fund the legislation; making it a crime to lure or entice a child for illegal purposes was a priority of Sen. Dougherty which also became law. Sen. Dougherty also co-sponsored the senior citizen prescription drug law to help seniors obtain prescription drugs and he co-sponsored the Women's Health Initiative that mandates women to have direct access to their Ob/Gyn, provide coverage for contraceptives and treatment for osteoporosis.

Senator Dougherty has been a champion of legislation addressing neighborhood issues in the city of St. Louis as well as other bills dealing with genetics and health care. Sen. Dougherty has focused on legislation that would increase the protections for domestic pets in our state. Starting back when he was in the House, he wrote and passed the bill to outlaw the blood sport of organized dog fighting. He has subsequently passed laws to strengthen animal abuse statutes, passed the first bill to address "puppy mills" and laws to address theft of pets.

Sen. Dougherty is a member of the following Senate committees: Appropriations; Aging, Families, Mental & Public Health; Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws; Administration; Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions & Ethics.

Sen. Dougherty is a member of the following boards/commissions/advisory boards:

  • Children's Trust Fund
  • Cornerstone Early Learning Center
  • Governor's Lead Advisory Committee
  • Missouri Restorative Justice Coalition
  • Nurses for Newborns
  • Personal Independence Commission
  • St. Patrick Center
  • St. Louis Crisis Nursery Advisory Board
  • Task Force on Children's Justice
  • National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
  • National Labor Caucus
  • National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) & Lance Armstrong Foundation Cancer Survivorship Technical Advisory Committee

** Patient Advocate Foundation (retired)
His awards include: 2006 Outstanding Legislator Award from Alliance on Mental Illness - NAMI St. Louis; President's Award from St. Louis Association of REALTORS; Outstanding Contributions to the Administration of Justice - Missouri Association of Probate and Associate Circuit Judges; 2006 Defender of Patient Safety - Missouri Watch, Inc.; Open Your Heart 2006 - Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation; 2006 Cardinal Glennon Crystal Wagon Legislative Award; Patient Advocate Foundation 2006 Parade of Heros Award, the 2006 National Patient Advocate Foundation Outstanding Leadership Award, 2006 Defender of Patient Safety, The Families and Coalition Partners of Missouri Watch, Inc.; 2006 Laurie Donovan Award, Children's Trust Fund; 2005 Recognition Children's Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis; 2004 Legislative Award, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri; 2003 Child Advocate of the Year Award, Citizens for Missouri's Children; 2003 St. Louis Region Person of the Year Award, Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Excellence in Health Care Legislation Award, MO Nurses Association; Legislator of the Year Award, NBA/ECHO; Outstanding Dedication and Leadership, Mental Health Assoc. of Greater St. Louis; Improving Medical Care for the Citizens of Missouri, MO State Medical Association; the 2000 Guardian Angel Award, Family Support Network; the 1999 Distinguished Legislator Award, National Association of the Mentally Ill in 1999; Children's Hero Award, Child Daycare Association Award; 1999 Volunteer Advocate, Cancer Society; Ann Dandurant Award, Prevent Child Abuse Missouri; 1998 Heroes Award from Citizens for Missouri's Children; Political Advocacy and Legislative Achievement Award from the Adoption and Foster Care Coalition of Missouri; and Legislative Friend to Animals from the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. Other awards include: the American Humane Society; the American Cancer Society; Missouri Women's Network; Waste Control Coalition; Reform Organization of Welfare; MASW; Silver Haired Legislature; Sierra Club; Coalition for the Environment; MoPIRG; Animal Alliance of Missouri; and Center for Policy Alternatives.

Sen. Dougherty has been an active member of the National Conference of State Legislatures for over 25 years. He has served on numerous committees and has chaired the Environment Committee and was vice-chair of the Assembly of State Issues. He was a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Foundation and was also a member of the Foundation's Economic Development Committee.

He was a member of the Leadership St. Louis Class of 1984-85.

Sen. Dougherty received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Quincy University in 1970 and attended Kenrick Theological Seminary for two years. He served as a former Division of Family Services caseworker for four years. Born June 30, 1948, in Decatur, Illinois, Sen. Dougherty currently resides in St. Louis with his wife Beverly. They have three children: Erica, Bridget and Elizabeth and a granddaughter, Dana McFarlane.

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