JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, successfully amended House Bill 432 to include two priority measures that benefit Missouri families. The truly agreed and finally passed version of HB 432 sent to the governor this week includes provisions of Sen. Schupp’s Senate Bill 16, “The Victims Security and Safety Act (VESSA), and Senate Bill 562, which establishes Missouri’s participation in the federal “Farm to Food Bank Project.” The measure passed in the House by a vote of 143 to 0.
The VESSA provision of the bill requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide reasonable workplace safety accommodations and allow unpaid leave to survivors of domestic or sexual violence. The amount of unpaid leave required would be limited to one week for employers with fewer than 50 employees, and two weeks at larger workplaces. Reasons for unpaid leave include attending hearings, accessing the courts, addressing physical or mental health issues and finding new living quarters.
“This legislation protects the economic well-being of survivors,” Sen. Schupp said. “When domestic violence has forced a survivor to take measures to overcome a dangerous situation, unpaid leave is a way to support the survivor, any children and to also be mindful of the needs of the person’s employer.”
Also included in HB 432 is Sen. Schupp’s legislation requiring the Missouri Department of Social Services to submit a participation plan to the USDA’s Farm to Food Bank Project. The program allows food banks to collect unharvested agricultural products from farmers’ fields once gleaning is complete. The stipend farmers receive for their leftover crops is paid through federal funds and requires no Missouri taxpayer resources.
“The Farm to Food Bank Project is a wonderful way to get fresh produce to hard-working Missourians who struggle with food insecurity,” Sen. Schupp said. “By expanding this innovative program in Missouri, we engage in smart public policy, feed needy families and support our agricultural industry.”
For more information on Sen. Schupp’s legislation, visit her official Missouri Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/schupp.