We had another busy week at the Missouri State Capitol, with a couple of late night sessions. One day’s session lasted well past the dinner hour, while the next day we didn’t leave the chamber until many people were eating breakfast. I’m an “early to bed, early to rise” sort of gal and certainly am not accustomed to pulling all-nighters. Sometimes, the threat of continuing until the work is done is just what’s required to bring about compromise however.
During our overnight marathon, I was able to add one of my priority pieces of legislation to Senate Bill 71. The underlying bill recognizes the sad fact that companion animals sometimes become embroiled in domestic disputes. The legislation allows courts to issue orders of protection to prevent one party from harming the family dog or cat. I seized the opportunity to include the language of my Senate Bill 415. My legislation grants judges the authority to issue extended orders of protection so victims of domestic violence don’t have to reappear in court year-after-year, as required by current law.
The Senate passed the pet orders of protection bill this week, so it’s on its way to the House of Representatives, with my language attached. I’m really excited about that, and hoping and praying we get extended orders of protection across the finish line. They definitely made a huge step forward this week.
Also this week, I was proud to advance two separate measures honoring southeast Missouri native Rush Limbaugh. Senate Bill 532, which I presented to the General Laws Committee on Tuesday, designates every Jan. 12 (Rush’s birthday) as “Rush Limbaugh Day” in Missouri. Separately, the Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony on my Senate Bill 533, which designates a Cape Girardeau portion of Interstate 55 as “Rush Limbaugh Memorial Highway.” Rush Limbaugh comes from our area of the state, and his family is very much loved in Cape Girardeau. Of course, Rush was loved nationally, but most certainly he’s a favorite son of southeast Missouri.
I know better than to presume a clear path ahead for either bill. There will always be those who don’t think anyone controversial should be recognized, but I believe Rush’s accomplishments are extraordinary. He changed political commentary and talk radio for the nation, and I believe he absolutely deserves to be honored. He became the voice that many didn’t have before him. Rush ushered in the conservative movement that we know today. HE did that, and I’m proud to work to honor him. I feel we definitely have the votes to get these bills out of committee and bring them to the floor, where I anticipate a spirited and lengthy debate. I think there’s a really good chance we get at least one of these bills passed and signed into law. Regardless of what happens, it was an honor for me to be able to present these bills that recognize a great southeast Missourian.
We are nearing the end of the 2021 legislative session, with just four weeks remaining before we adjourn on May 14. The Senate now has the budget, and we’re hard at work reviewing the numbers the House provided, and making our own Senate recommendations. All of us are taking care to make sure programs in our respective districts receive the funding they need and deserve. While I’m certainly watching out for the 27th District, I’m also keeping a close eye on funding for mental health programs. I’m concerned these services have been underfunded for some time, and I’m committed to ensuring the resources are there for Missourians in need.
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 Holly Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to Holly.Rehder@senate.mo.gov or visit www.senate.mo.gov/Rehder