Senator Wayne Wallingford – Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 11, 2016

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Senate Bills Receive No Opposition

Hello from the Capitol at the end of the second week of the second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly. This session kicked off last Wednesday, Jan. 6 with a bang, and my fellow lawmakers and I have been in full swing ever since. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said this is shaping up to be my busiest session as a Missouri senator to date.

In the first two weeks alone, two of the 15 pieces of legislation I’ve sponsored so far this session have already received committee hearings and I’m proud to say that neither of them received any opposition whatsoever. While I consider all of my sponsored legislation to be important to the citizens of District 27, I would like to use this week’s column to focus on the two bills that have already been heard in committees.

The first piece of legislation, SB 619, seeks to improve the Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) investigation process that occurs when a claim of elder abuse is reported to the department hotline. Elder abuse is a terrible problem, and one that does happen all too often in the state of Missouri, yet even so there are a few issues with the DHSS investigation process that my bill seeks to improve. I first learned about this issue when KFVS-12’s Kathy Sweeney conducted her investigative report on false elder abuse claims that occur when families are competing for estate rights or other contentious issues. My bill will require case workers responding to abuse claims to only engage in standardized policy during DHSS investigations.

Specifically, SB 619 requires a DHSS investigator to provide the alleged abuser with approved written materials that inform the alleged perpetrator of their rights regarding the visit. These rights include the opportunity to contact an attorney, and the alleged abuser will be given five minutes to read the provided materials or have them read out loud by the DHSS investigator. The investigation rights materials must also be posted on the department’s website and be available to the public at all times.

State Rep. Holly Rehder (R-148) has also committed to introducing identical legislation in the House of Representatives. Additionally, I plan to introduce more legislation to further address this issue before the end of the session.

Senate Bill 617 is my second piece of legislation that received a hearing this week. This bill modifies the penalties related to the possession, release or transportation of feral hogs and allows landowners, agents and anyone with written permission to kill feral hogs on the landowner’s property. Feral hogs are devastating to the ecosystem in Southeast Missouri, and my bill will not only curb the amount of hogs in the state, but will also increase the penalty for offenders responsible for their presence.

Under current law, the penalty for the release, possession and transportation of feral hogs without a Department of Agriculture (MDA) permit is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class E felony for any subsequent offenses within the next ten years. My bill eliminates MDA feral hog permits entirely and advances the charge of feral hog possession, release or transportation to a Class A misdemeanor, a $1,000 fine and a forfeiture of any hunting, fishing or trapping permits for the subsequent three years. Second offenders will be assessed a $10,000 fine and will permanently forfeit any hunting, fishing or trapping permits received from the Department of Conservation.
It is my hope that my bill will simultaneously curb the numbers of wild hogs in our state through legal hunting and discourage any would-be offenders from increasing the number of this invasive species.

I urge you to contact me with any questions or concerns you have about state government so that I can better represent you during the 2016 legislative session.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Wayne Wallingford, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email at or

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