Legislative Column for the Week of April 2, 2015

I was proud to receive the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association award for Exceptional Leadership in Transportation Issues.

JEFFERSON CITY — This week marks the official start of the second-half of the 2015 legislative session. Spring recess has ended, and now we begin longer days of debate as we try to ensure key legislation is completed and sent to the governor’s desk.

On Monday, our first day back, we spent five hours in a passionate debate about Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville. At the end of the debate the measure was perfected and, after one more vote from the full Senate, it will move onto the House. 

This legislation would create a state-operated electronic data base to monitor when prescriptions for drugs/medications classified as controlled substances are written and filled. Missouri is currently the only state in the nation that does not have a drug, monitoring system to help thwart the efforts of those patients who “doctor shop” and then use the medications recreationally or sell them illegally.

Senate Bill 63 has addressed some of the concerns regarding the security of patients’ medical information. The time the information will be stored is 180 days, much less than past proposals. The bill also makes it a felony to leak or hack private data held in the database. We are working to ensure that our database is the most secure in the nation. I have had many constituents call and email with concerns over this legislation and I am committed to ensuring that our data is secure but I am also committed to ending doctor shopping and combatting illegal drugs and illegal use of prescription drugs in our state. That is why I joined 22 of my colleagues in voting in favor of SB 63.

Senate Bill 12 is this session’s version of last year's agriculture bill, Senate Bill 506. This year’s SB 12 removes controversial sections that would have reclassified deer as livestock. New to SB 12 are provisions providing for an increased weight limit for trucks hauling grain during harvest of up 10 percent over weight limits and a rewording of the beef commodity merchandising program that better reflects the intent of the legislation to allow for a vote of producers on a state referendum. There are still sections that limit the fees collected from livestock marketing permits; alter commercial pesticide applicator liability insurance requirements and allow applicators to display evidence at their business; provide livestock activity liability waivers; allow an 85,500 pound weight limit for trucks carrying livestock; and require the Missouri Department of Agriculture to create a better system for labeling renewable fuels at Missouri gas stations. Senate Bill 12 was one of the first bills fully approved by both chambers and the bill has been sent to the governor’s desk. I am hopeful that governor will sign this important piece of agriculture legislation into law.

Senate Bill 278, which I sponsored and have discussed here before, has been perfected and is now on the calendar for third reading. It will then move onto the House. This legislation is a non- controversial, good-government type of bill that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but helps correct errors in state government and will make life easier for Missouri citizens.

The first main component to SB 278 corrects a court ruling that allows vehicles titled as “junk” or dangerous in other states to be re-titled in Missouri under a salvage title resold to unwitting citizens. The loophole leads to the dangerous and unscrupulous practice of junk vehicles being resold to Missourian citizens. We are currently the only state with this loophole because of the court ruling. This bill also allows citizens to buy a permanent trailer license instead of renewing their license every year or every three years. This action eliminates the reoccurring hassle of renewing a license time and time again.

Additionally, I have worked with Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, on SB 278 to extend the lawful operation of transferred license plates on motor vehicles and the duration of temporary permits from 30 to 90 days. In regards to certificates of ownership, SB 278 will also extend the start of the 30 day period a buyer has to apply for a certificate to the date in which the person actually receives the title from the dealer. We have also included standards in the buying and selling that a motor vehicle dealer participates in to ensure that the correct parties are held responsible in the unfortunate event that a person suffers damages due to misrepresentations of certificates of ownership. This permanent trailer license, 90 day extensions, and liability standards will not only makes life easier for Missourians, but are also expected to have a positive financial impact on state highway funding. I am working to usher these measures through the legislative process in order to close the dangerous junk title loophole and to make life safer and more convenient for Missourians in general and it pleases me to see this bill closer to becoming law.

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