This week in the Missouri Senate included much debate on the Senate floor.
Health Care Bills
Among the bills considered was Senate Bill 579. This legislation, also known as the hospital-acquired infection act, is designed to educate the public and provider transparency regarding these infections. In recent years a lot of attention has been paid to the emergence of “superbugs” and the importance of judicious use of antibiotics has been recognized. The bill requires the Department of Health to make reports of such infections. This act also provides that each hospital and ambulatory surgical center shall establish an antibiotic stewardship program. I co-sponsored this legislation with Senator Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, who has lead the charge on this issue for several years.
Another piece of legislation considered was Senate Bill 635, which establishes the Missouri Palliative Care and Quality of Life Council. Palliative care, is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for those with serious illnesses. Hospice care is one form of palliative care. Its goal is to reduce stress and improve quality of life. The council created by this legislation is tasked with consulting with the DHSS on palliative care initiatives in the state. It will also submit an annual report to the General Assembly that assesses the availability of such care and specifically analyzes the barriers to such care. Finally, the bill creates an educational program that is designed to ensure public availability of comprehensive and accurate information about palliative care.
This week in the Senate we also debated legislation that would allow a physician to prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors to an authorized entity such as a restaurant or amusement park. Also know as the “EpiPen bill,” this legislation is aimed at allowing businesses to have EpiPens on hand, which can be life-saving for a person who has an allergic reaction to a food such as peanut. As a practicing allergist, I was especially happy to see this worthwhile bill pass through the Senate.
Traffic Ticket Quotas
The Senate also debated and ultimately passed Senate Bill 765, which prohibits political subdivisions and law enforcement agencies from imposing traffic citation quotas. Under current law it is illegal to require a police officer in St. Louis County to meet a traffic ticket quota. This act expands the provision to make it apply to employees of any political subdivision, not just St. Louis County, and it removes a loophole to the law. This bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Spouses Help Out Jeff City Charities
In a city that runs full steam from January to May, we often miss the important efforts happening quietly behind the scenes. This year, the Senate has formed a team of highly qualified “helpers” who are offering their time to make the Jefferson City community a little better. Once a month, a bipartisan group of Senate spouses, including my wife Allison, are gathering in the Capitol city to volunteer at different organizations. While their spouses are working on bills, they are putting together food and supplies to help those down on their luck become more self-sufficient and independent.
The idea began last fall when some of the Senate spouses got together and decided there were positive ways they could give back to the community. They initially sought out resources to help the St. Raymond’s Society, and efforts grew from there. This week, the group gathered at Dreams to Reality on Jefferson Street to coordinate outfits, clothing and jewelry. The organization supports women in transition by providing interview and work attire so they can be confident and prepared for career and job opportunities. Afterward, the spouses packed meals for families at The Pantry, an organization that not only provides food, but volunteers to teach families how to prepare healthy and delicious meals. Lastly, the team made a stop at the St. Raymond’s Society, which supports mothers who have chosen life for their child. They provide resources to help support the family after the baby is born by helping the mother become self-reliant and having the security of a stable home. I am proud of these spouses for their commitment to give back to the community, most especially my wife Allison. It’s great that there is a lot of positive change in the Capitol city this session.
As always, I want to mention some of the great visitors we had in the Capitol this week from the district and across the state. You can see those visitors in the photo gallery below. Please be sure to contact my office if you are planning a visit during session so we can be sure to say hello.
Next week proves to be a busy one both in committee and in debate on the Senate floor. I look forward to sharing information about some of the bills that I will be presenting to committee next week in the upcoming column. Thanks for your continued interest in our work and best wishes for an enjoyable weekend.
Capitol Pictures- Here are some photo highlights of events and visitors from this week at the Capitol.
Contacting Sen. Onder
Throughout this session, I will do my best to keep you informed of our work here in the Capitol. I encourage you to contact my office if you have comments, questions or concerns.
For constituent questions, scheduling and general questions, please contact my Scheduler and Director of Constituent Services Theckla Spainhower at Theckla.Spainhower@senate.mo.gov.
For questions pertaining to legislation, please contact my Chief of Staff and Legislative Director Jennae Neustadt at Jennae.Neustadt@senate.mo.gov.
You can reach my Capitol office at (573) 751-1282. You can also e-mail me personally at Bob.Onder@senate.mo.gov.
I would like to encourage you to sign up for my weekly capitol reports so we can inform you of our work each week. Please email Theckla Spainhower at Theckla.Spainhower@senate.mo.gov to be added to our mailing list.
Thank you again for your support. I look forward to serving you.
Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.