Sen. Dave Schatz’s Column for April 6

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This week, I worked on two notable issues. First, the Senate advanced a piece of legislation which I sponsored, Senate Bill 240, which creates a process that allows electricians to gain a statewide license through the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. This will alleviate the need for electricians to take unnecessary time to get a license in each county. Second, the Citizens for Radon Reduction visited me this week, and they alerted me to the dangers posed by radon. Radon is a serious health threat facing Missourians, and it is proven to cause lung cancer. I encourage readers to test their homes for this dangerous gas.

SB 240

Currently, municipalities are allowed, but not required, to issue local licenses for electricians. Under my bill, cities and counties could still issue their own local certification for electrical contractors, but they would be required to recognize a state license as well.  If a city or county does not require a local license, each employee would not be required to get a state license. However, electrical contracting companies would be required to employ at least one state-licensed electrician as a supervisor. These licensed electricians would only be allowed to represent one company at a time.

Applicants for statewide electrician’s license would have to be 21 or older, have $500,000 in liability insurance, and have passed a nationally accredited exam.

Only six states (including Missouri) have a patchwork licensing scheme instead of statewide licensing. It is time to create a sensible system that allows qualified electrical contractors to bid on projects anywhere in the state without having to go through a gauntlet of local licensing. The bill also maintains current local code enforcement, so we are not watering down safety and code standards.

Test Your Home For Radon, the Silent Killer

Growing up, most people are taught about the dangers of nuclear radiation or carbon monoxide poisoning. But, what people often don’t realize is the seriousness, relevance and danger of radon gas.

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is proven to cause lung cancer. Radon is effecting millions of Missourians each year, and it’s a killer. The only way to know if you have radon in your home is to test for it and the test is free!

Radon gas is created from the decay of uranium underground, and it emits solid radioactive particles. The gas can seep into your home through floor joints, sump pumps, openings around pipes, or cracks/holes in the foundation of your home.

There is a direct link between concentrations of radon gas and diagnoses of lung cancer. However, a person may never know that they have been exposed to radon until they are diagnosed. That’s why it is so imperative for Missourians to test their homes for radon. The good news is that reducing the levels of radon in your home will reduce your risk of lung cancer, even if you have lived with radon for a long time.

Fortunately, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services provides short-term radon testing kits for free. Go to this website and get yours today:

The following agencies strongly urge you to test for radon in your home: American Medical Association, Center for Disease Control, National Cancer Institute, National Academy of Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.