Senator Holly Thompson Rehder's Legislative Column for May 15, 2023

Monday, May 15, 2023

Crossing the Finish Line

The First Regular Session of the 102nd General Assembly has come to a close. I’m happy to report many of my priority legislative proposals crossed the finish line in the final week. I’ve written about most of these in the past so I won’t go into great detail. If you’d like to see all the legislation passed, you’ll find a description and full bill text online at Click on the “Legislation” tab and then select Truly Agreed Bills. This is a quick run-down of my bills passed this session:

Senate Bill 39: This is my legislation that requires student athletes to compete in events intended for the gender specified on their birth certificate. Simply put, transgender girls (who were born a biological male) will not be allowed to compete against biological females. Girls can participate in boys’ sports when no program for girls is offered. In other words, a biological female can still participate in boys’ wrestling, for example, if her school doesn’t offer that sport for girls. I pledged at the end of the 2022 session when this didn’t pass, that I would file it myself and make certain that it did. We worked hard, and am so thankful we did get this across the line and to the governor’s desk!

Senate Bill 40: Adults who enroll in public school classes alongside traditional high school students will have to undergo a criminal background check. This legislation was suggested by one of our technical school instructors in Sikeston, Mr. Brent Trankler. Mr. Trankler was concerned about adults attending career and technical classes in the regular school during normal school hours. Adults with a criminal past will still be allowed to further their education, just not in the same classroom as our kids.

Senate Bill 41: Pharmacists will be allowed to administer routine vaccines without a prior prescription order through a physician with the passage of House Bill 115, Senate Bill 45 and Senate Bill 157, all of which include the language of my SB 41. This legislation makes permanent an exemption put in place under the pandemic emergency order by President Trump.

Senate Bill 106: I was a bipartisan co-sponsor of this legislation that prohibits teaching hospitals from conducting highly personal and invasive examinations on patients under sedation without prior permission. I was shocked when I learned that medical students are sometimes taught how to perform prostate, anal or pelvic exams on patients in the facility for a totally unrelated procedure, without the patient even knowing. The final version of SB 106 includes a number of other provisions relating to public health in Missouri.

Senate Bill 127: This is the big highway naming bill for 2023. When I filed this legislation, it included just one special highway marker: a sign honoring southeast Missouri businessman Don Welge to be placed on the Missouri end of the new Highway 51 bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Perry County. The final version of the bill creates nearly two dozen special designations honoring all sorts of notable Missourians. You would think a highway naming bill would be simple, but it’s not. Each one of the people honored must be vetted to ensure the honoree is someone all Missourians would be proud to recognize.

Senate Bill 198: My legislation waiving the fee for a duplicate birth certificate for victims of domestic violence reached the governor’s desk as part of Senate Bill 28.

Senate Bill 199: Legislation to create a fifth adult high school in Missouri was included in two measures moving through the General Assembly this year: my SB 199 and House Bill 447. The House bill is the one that crossed the finish line, but the result is the same, and I’m so excited we got this done. The four privately owned adult high schools currently operating in Missouri offer a great alternative for adults returning to school to earn a regular diploma instead of a GED. This legislation authorizes another adult high school to be located in the Kansas City area.

Senate Bill 381: This bill expands the curriculum for the required health education class in Missouri high schools to include additional instruction in topics related to family, child abuse, alcohol and other drug use, violence prevention and parenting. Our foster system alone shows the desperate need for parenting skills. We must do something different if we are going to start changing the cycle of abuse in some families. Adding this element to our health classes is a perfect opportunity to help break these cycles. The language of this bill was also passed as part of House Bill 447.

Senate Bill 480: This year, I sponsored legislation to remove fentanyl testing strips from the list of items considered to be illegal drug paraphernalia in Missouri. This legislation did not pass under its original bill number, but identical language was added to three other bills that did cross the finish line: Senate Bill 186, a public safety bill; Senate Bill 189, this year’s crime bill; and House Bill 402, a package of health care reforms. With so many Missourians dying of fentanyl overdoses, it’s critical we increase availability of testing supplies so those with substance use disorders don’t unknowingly ingest this dangerous drug.

Senate Bill 481: Legislation requiring revenue from mineral mining in Missouri be distributed primarily to the counties where the mining occurs was passed as part of Senate Bill 109. Nearly all the mining in Missouri takes place in Reynolds and Iron counties, so passage of this bill will greatly benefit their school systems that are honestly having to make some really tough decisions this year. I’m honored to be able to help in this effort.

Senate Bill 505: This legislation authorizes the transfer of land located in Iron County to the State Highways and Transportation Commission. It was passed as part of House Bill 802.

I’m gratified by the support of my House and Senate colleagues in getting these bills across the legislative finish line. It’s not easy getting legislation passed. A lot of different pieces must fall into place and it’s always a collaborative effort. I’ll provide more information about the 2023 session in future legislative updates, but for now, I’m ready for some rest.

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 Holly Thompson Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to or visit