By Sen. David Pearce, District 21
Soon, many of the bills that passed the General Assembly and were signed into law by the governor will take effect. Unless otherwise specified, or unless a measure contained an emergency clause, Aug. 28 is the date laws were put into action in Missouri. This date is set because it is 90 days after the constitutional close of the regular session, which is May 30. Out of the more than 150 bills passed this session, many pieces of beneficial legislation have become law.
One bill I am proud to support is Senate Bill 16. Signed by the governor on May 10, seven days before session ended, SB 16 allows Missouri children under the age of 16 to work on the family farm, exempting them from certain federal child labor laws. This rule is particularly useful to rural youth, without whose work the family farm would likely suffer. Many jobs and chores on the farm provide our children with the chance to learn valuable life lessons and to help their families.
In addition to protecting our family farms, I have been an advocate of eating disorder legislation in my time at the Missouri Capitol, and I will continue to speak up for change dealing with eating disorders. I was honored to sponsor Senate Bill 161, legislation that requires the Oversight Division of the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to conduct consumer cost-impact analyses on the diagnosis and treatment of certain eating disorders, including both residential treatment and access to psychiatric and medical treatments, and comparing orally administered and intravenously administered anti-cancer medications. These actuarial studies must be completed and the findings returned to leaders of General Assembly before Dec. 31, 2013.
Another bill addresses youth in our state’s foster care system. It closes a dangerous loophole and then provides these youth with numerous opportunities for a bright future. Senate Bill 208 will permit a child under the age of 18 who has been released from the custody of the Department of Social Services to return to their custody if it is in the child’s best interest. The bill also raises the age limit from 18 to 21 to help provide the familial support system through college. A similar bill, Senate Bill 205, allows children in Missouri’s foster care system who are 15 years or older to visit to a state higher education institution or an Armed Services recruiter before leaving the foster care program. This bill will help increase the number of foster children attending college by allowing them a choice to retain their home support system.
House Bill 675 will help improve student health in Missouri’s elementary and secondary schools. One provision, known as Cade’s Law, requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop rules creating a physical fitness challenge for K-12 students to address a number of physical conditioning topics among our student population. It also adds a requirement to DESE to develop a diabetes-management training to be offered to school employees in order to better care for students with diabetes.
These are just a few of the bills that will have a positive impact on Missouri’s future. For a complete list of bills passed during this session and the governor’s action on those measures, please visit www.senate.mo.gov, and click on “Governor’s Action on Truly Agreed Bills” under the Legislation tab.