JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Legislation establishing a host of protections for Missouri’s children — from expanding healthcare benefits to changing how courts handle underage victims of trafficking — was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson Thursday. 

Missouri’s chief executive signed a whole host of bills Thursday afternoon, including Republican Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman’s HB 397. The legislation grew to an omnibus package of more than a dozen protections for minors, particularly exploited youths, in the General Assembly, including under Sen. Jeanie Riddle’s guidance in the Senate. 

”With Governor Parson’s signing of HB 397, we are bringing Missouri in line with federal law, giving additional tools to law enforcement to crack down on those that are selling and buying our children and taking another step to ensuring justice to victims of sex trafficking,” Coleman told The Missouri Times. “I’d like to thank to Congresswoman Ann Wagner for her leadership on this issue, who has worked tirelessly to continue to strengthen laws on behalf human trafficking victims to end this terrible epidemic. ”

Among other things, HB 397 establishes “Simon’s Law,” which prohibits a doctor or medical professional from instituting a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order for a child without written or oral permission from at least one parent or guardian. The provision is named in honor of Sheryl Crosier’s son, Simon, who died just three months after he was born. Simon, who had a life-threatening developmental disorder, died after a doctor placed a DNR on his file without notifying his parents.  

Also included in Coleman’s bill is “Hailey’s Law,” which modifies the Amber Alert system and integrates it into the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) to expedite the search for abducted children. This provision was named in honor of 10-year-old Hailey Owens who was abducted, raped, and murdered in 2014. 

That provision also requires an Amber Alert System Oversight Committee to meet annually and make suggestions on potential improvements. 

The bill affords anyone who was convicted of prostitution under the age of 18 the ability to apply in the court where he or she pled guilty or was sentenced for an expungement of that record. 

Additionally, HB 397 gives Missourians between 18 and 26 years old who have received at least six months of foster care in another state eligibility for MO HealthNet benefits; affords the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) the authority to reject child care facility applications if located within 1,000 feet of hospitals, residences, or other facilities housing sex offenders; and establishes a civil penalty for individuals who operates an unlicensed, nonexempt child care facility.

Other bill signings

Parson signed more than a dozen other bills into law on Thursday as well, including legislation that establishes a host of official state designations: St. Louis Blues as the official state hockey team; pawpaw tree as official fruit tree; and the hellbender salamander (also known as the snot otter or lasagna lizard) as the official endangered species. 

“This year’s legislative session was marked by historic progress on major issues that impact all Missourians,” he said. “I applaud the General Assembly for their hard work and leadership over the past several months. It was an honor to stand with them this week as we officially signed these milestones into law.”

Below is a snapshot of what Parson signed. 

  • SB 29 from Sen. Dan Hegeman: extends the sunset for the state’s federal reimbursement allowance (FRA) until September 2020
  • SB 36 from Sen. Jeanie Riddle: modifies provisions regarding real estate, including expanding the immunity of licenses to include certain property information given by a third party disclosed by the licensee
  • SB 87 from Sen. Wayne Wallingford: modifies several provisions to taxation, including with late income tax payments, adjusted gross income, and certain memorials
  • SB 101 from Riddle: instructs the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to establish a statewide hearing aid distribution program with financial assistance for low-income Missourians
  • SB 138 from Riddle: establishes new provisions for how the state auditor handles reports
  • SB 167 from Sen. Sandy Crawford: modifies provisions related to bonding requirements on public works
  • SB 174 from Crawford: modifies provisions related to taxation, including by exempting interest received on deposits held at federal reserve bank from Missouri adjusted gross income
  • SB 210 from Sen. Karla May: establishes numerous state designations as described above
  • SB 213 from Hegeman: enacts new provisions related to the state demographer 
  • SB 514 from Sen. David Sater: modifies dozens of provisions related to healthcare, including with the Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, electronic prescribing, opioid prescriptions for sickle cell patients, and suspension of MO HealthNet benefits for offenders in jails and correctional facilities 
  • SCR 2 from Hegeman: replaces the statue of Thomas Hart Benton with one of former President Harry S. Truman in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol pending approval from the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress
  • HB 138 from Rep. Bill Kidd: establishes “Simon’s Law” by requiring written or oral permission from at least one parent or guardian before a do-not-resuscitate order can be added to a minor’s chart
  • HB 260 from Rep. Jered Taylor: establishes penalties for poaching certain wildlife animals 
  • HB 266 from Rep. Dave Muntzel: creates the designation of the Missouri Historical Theater
  • HB 355 from Rep. Dean Plocher: changes how individuals can appeal orders and decisions made by the Public Service Commission
  • HB 565 from Rep. Herman Morse: establishes new state designations
  • HB 604 from Rep. Mike Henderson: establishes the “School Turnaround Act” to assist those in need of intervention
  • HB 831 from Rep. Greg Sharpe: creates special license plates for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities, providing more funding for utility training programs 

Parson has been on a marathon of bill signings this week, signing dozens pertaining to criminal justice, tort reform, workforce development, and others ahead of the July 14 veto deadline.