Moving Critical Legislation
This week I was honored to shepherd an important House bill relating to tax credits for adoptions, domestic violence shelters and maternity centers through the Senate. Previously, Missouri offered a tax credit for families who adopted special needs children through foster care programs. House Bill 430 expands eligibility to all adoptions of foster care children. We’re hopeful this will help find permanent homes for more children in the foster care system.
The Senate made a number of changes to the original House bill, including increasing tax credits previously available to domestic violence shelters. Right now, we have about 50 of these facilities in the state, and they need all the help that they can get. These shelters are a lifeline for families – typically, women and children – during a time of crisis. We want to make sure we’re helping those families as much as possible. The bill also extended some tax credits available to maternity homes. I believe this legislation will be truly helpful to a lot of people in need, and I was honored to be the one carrying the bill through the Senate. The House will have to sign off on the additions made by the Senate before we can send it onto the governor’s desk.
The fate of PDMP also now rests in the hands of the House. This week, the Senate passed my prescription drug monitoring program legislation, Senate Bill 63. After working on this bill for eight years in the House, and seeing it fall short in the Senate so many times, it’s quite a change to see it go from the Senate to the House.
Truth be told, Missouri essentially already has a PDMP, since the St. Louis County system is being used in more than 60 percent of Missouri’s counties and captures data from more than 85 percent of the state’s residents. I truly believe the bill we passed in the Senate this week creates a more conservative PDMP system that allows our medical professionals to see their patients’ data, but better protects the privacy rights of all Missourians. I’m hopeful we can get that bill moving through the House and we can finally get that over the line this year.
Also this week, my Senate Bill 415 received a “Do Pass” recommendation from the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. This bill provides judges the authority to issue extended orders of protection so victims of domestic violence don’t have to reappear in court year-after-year to plead for their own safety. The testimony before the committee was incredibly compelling, with two strong women recalling their years of experience in our court system. I’m very thankful we were able to get the bill out of committee, and I am looking forward to presenting it on the Senate floor and, hopefully, moving it onto the House soon.
With just five weeks left in the 2021 legislative session, I am incredibly focused on getting either the House or Senate version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act passed. House Bill 85 has moved out of the lower chamber and the Senate now controls its progress. Our version, Senate Bill 39, was voted out of the General Laws Committee this week. I’m learning the Senate operates on its own pace, and we have to work through the calendar but I, along with a number of my colleagues, am pushing to get this critical legislation brought to a vote.
On Thursday, the president of the United States announced executive actions relating to “red flag” laws and other proposals that I believe restrict our right to keep and bear arms. I think it’s vitally important that we do everything we can to protect our Second Amendment rights. We must get the Second Amendment Preservation Act across the line and to the governor’s desk this year. It is, in my opinion, the most important legislation moving through the General Assembly this year.
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.