Senator Elaine Gannon’s Capitol Report for April 7, 2022
The Awe of April
Call me partial, but I believe our community is one of the most beautiful places on earth, especially during the month of April. Dogwood and redbud trees dot the woods with brilliant blooms, eager morel mushroom hunters flock to their secret spots in search of the coveted gems and fishermen try to hook crappie spawning in the shallow waters of our ponds and lakes. As of today, only five weeks remain in this legislative session, so the intensity inside the Capitol definitely mirrors nature’s explosion of color outside. A small transformation also occurs in the Legislature in April as more bills are passed in one chamber and then start the process over in the other.
As a lifelong advocate for children, I was honored to support two proposals which I think will have a transforming effect on the lives of vulnerable kids. Senate Bill 1168 was passed on April 6 by the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. This measure outlines a plan to address the problem of “patient boarding,” a situation that occurs when hospitals have treated a patient, and when they are ready to be released and don’t have a suitable place to go, the hospital is forced to board them, sometimes for lengthy periods. This mostly affects children in residential or foster care and adults with disabilities, who are denied the services and care they need while they are warehoused in acute care facilities. This measure puts a plan in place to bring the involved stakeholders together and design a sustainable solution to identify the gaps and apply resources where and when necessary to address this issue. On April 5, I presented Senate Bill 1167 to exempt homeless and unoccupied youth from paying licensing fees and help them to easily verify their status as homeless to the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee. I hope this bill will continue to advance and remove two more barriers for these children.
One of my other passions is our four-legged family members. On April 4, I presented a bill I sponsored at the behest of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. Senate Bill 1200 designates the second full week of March as Pet Breeders Week in Missouri to coincide with the association’s annual conference and to recognize the joy responsible pet breeders bring to pet owners. This bill was amended onto House Bill 1720 which was third read and passed by the Senate on April 7.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
One of my favorite quotes about preventing child abuse was in the Child Abuse Prevention Month introductory email from Elaine Stedt, the director of the U.S. Children’s Bureau’s Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, “Support for parents is child abuse prevention.” Please take advantage of the Prevention Resource Guide and conversation starters to help support our families and young people in crisis.
Enter the Focus on Missouri Agriculture Photo Contest
Please help show other Missourians the beauty of our landscape and the strength of the farmers who work that land by entering the Focus on Missouri Agriculture photo contest! The contest’s categories include Beauty of the Farm, Faces of the Farm, The Farmer’s Life, Pride of the Farm and Children’s Barnyard. Entries must be submitted by June 10, and the winners will be displayed at this year’s Missouri State Fair.
Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month. To recognize this important month, the governor ordered the Capitol dome to be lit teal to raise awareness of and support the victims of this heinous crime.
The Capitol dome was lit teal on April 6 in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Honoring State Champs in the Senate Chamber
Congratulations to Coach Dinkins, the assistant coaches and members of the boys basketball team from South Iron County High School who won the Class 1 state championship title for the second year in a row. I also want to commend Drenin Dinkins for being named the team’s player of the year. On April 5, I was honored to introduce the team and its coaches to my colleagues in the chamber. I am so proud of your hard work and dedication to each other.
The South Iron County Panthers basketball team poses with Sen. Gannon, their coaches and the resolution honoring their state championship.
Welcoming a Public Servant
On April 5, I was honored to visit with Jaclyn Brown from the Jefferson County Health Department and introduce her to my colleagues on the floor. Thanks for making the trip to Jefferson City and updating me on county-level issues.
Tell Your Friends to Keep Up!
If you know someone who is interested in the policymaking process, encourage them to subscribe to my capitol report, Keeping Up.