Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, Jan. 6, 2014
2014 Legislative Session Begins

Legislative News

The Missouri Senate returned to Jefferson City this week for the start of the 2014 legislative session, which officially began at noon on Wednesday. For the next five months, we’ll work diligently here in the Capitol to address some of the most urgent issues facing our state.

One of our greatest priorities remains fostering job creation in Missouri. We cannot sit by and wait for prosperity to come to us. We have to take action. This year we’ll be looking at ways to provide tax relief to all citizens and businesses in our state in a fiscally responsible way. That money can then be directly injected into our economy through consumer spending and business expansion. I hope the same spirit of cooperation that marked more recent economic development efforts is carried into this new year.

Other issues that merit our immediate attention include the ongoing problems associated with student transfers from unaccredited to accredited districts, our state’s outdated criminal code, and ethics reform. We will also work together to ensure the Second Amendment rights of Missourians remain inviolable, regardless of the federal government’s actions.

Additionally, we will be looking at SB 639, which would require doctors to advise women with dense breast tissue about the possible benefits of seeking out additional tests.

My wife, Patty, has tirelessly advocated for this important measure, and was recently recognized by the Joplin Globe for her efforts on the issue. The paper praised her for bringing much-needed awareness to the necessity of additional breast cancer screenings for some women and finally pushing for action. The editorial is below:

Our View: Sound advice
The Joplin Globe
Jan. 7, 2014

— Thanks to Patty Richard for bringing attention to the need for additional screening for women.

Richard, the wife of state Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, has our support as she pushes for a measure that would require advisories be made to women who have dense breast tissue that they might want to have additional screenings.

Thirteen states require the advisory. It was introduced in Missouri several years ago, but there apparently was no champion then.

Now we have one right here in Joplin in Patty Richard.

Sen. Dan Brown, a Rolla Republican, is sponsoring Senate Bill 639.

Richard has told us that 40 percent of women undergoing regular mammogram screenings have dense breast tissue but that 95 percent don’t realize it. High breast density makes it more difficult to interpret the results of a regular mammogram.

Some cancer researchers are suggesting that digital mammography is superior to film mammography for women with high breast density. Ultrasounds and breast MRIs are also being studied.

Supplemental screenings could save lives. But women first need to know about their condition and that additional tests are available.

There’s nothing political about this bill, nor is there anything about it that forces a woman into taking additional tests.

We, like Patty Richard, think awareness and options are all part of the fight against breast cancer.

Missouri legislators should quickly pass Senate Bill 639.

District News

Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors

The governor has appointed Tracy Combs Flanigan, of Carthage, to the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors. The Board of Governors acts on behalf of the people of Missouri to oversee the successful implementation of well-planned and sound academic programs of higher learning for the benefit of the students of the college.

Flanigan operates a private practice in Carthage and in Fort Worth, Texas. As part of her practice, she serves as outside legal counsel to the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. Flanigan previously was assistant general counsel for the company. She obtained her law and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Missouri. The governor has appointed her for a term ending Aug. 30, 2019.