Half-Way Point in MO Legislative Session - an Update

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri 2017 General Assembly is at about the half-way point in the session, with several major pieces of legislation still to be decided.

Some experts believe a prescription drug monitoring program would go a long way to help curb the opiod drug epidemic in America.
Missouri is the only state in the nation that doesn't have such a program.

Lawmakers are talking about in Jefferson City.  How is it, and other major issues, progressing at the half-way point in the legislative session?  Missourinet's Brian Hauswirth updates us from the state capital.

Brian, what's the likelihood of whether this PDMP will pass this year?

That's been an issue that's been on the table for about 5 years," Hauswirth says.  "That bill is on the calander we should see it very shortly.  One of the big problems that we could see and this has been an issue in the senate.  Is that this is a battle between two very powerful republicans.  Rep. Holly Rehder is a Republican from Sikeston.  She has the bill that has a lot of support in the house and a lot of democratic support.  However there's a republican state senator, a doctor from St. Joe by the name of Rob Schaff.  And he says that Rehder refuses to compromise.  And he has vowed to defeat that bill.  He's filibustered it in the past.  So we may end up a stalemate situation.  These two republicans just don't see eye to eye.  They've been battling for 5 years.  And there's no indication either one of them is going to back down."

"One law, potential law, that a lot of people here in our neck of the woods are watching is Hailey's Law," notes David Oliver, KOLR10 News. "How is it progressing?" 

"Yeah that's a great question.  I know there have been hearings.  Her mother was here in Jefferson City to testify.  Craig Woods father supports the bill and was here in the capital city to testify for it.  The bill did pass in committee unanimously.  It went over to the consent committee and that tells you something, that really means there is no opposition to it.  The one thing that will help the supporters of this is Ellijah Harr.  He's the Speaker Pro Tem.  He's from Springfield and Greene County.  He's pushing it.  But the biggest obstacle they are facing is, there's no opposition to it.  It's time.  Getting it done by the May deadline, that's the key."

"There's an issue being discussed in Jeff City that's time sensitive.  It's the Real ID issue," says Oliver.  "Missouri has to do something soon because come January, if we don't, people who want to fly in or out of Missouri will have to show a passport at the airport.  What are you hearing in terms of any kind of movement on a Real ID bill up there?"

"That came up as well at the press conference on Thursday, kind of the halfway point," Hauswirth says.  "We should see it soon.  Perhaps in a week or so.  I did ask Minority Leader Gayle Beatty about it and she said when she did surveys in her district this is the number one thing people are talking about.  This is the number one thing people are focused on.  So a lot of bipartisan support.  Now there is some opposition to it from some Republicans who feel like its too intrusive.  But in terms of support it looks like the votes are there, if they get a chance to vote on it.  Look for that to come up fairly soon." 

Early on in the session, lawmakers passed a ban on lobbying gifts to lawmakers and they made Missouri a so-called Right to Work state where it's no longer a requirement to join a union as a condition of employment.

The 2017 General Assembly adjourns on May 12.

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