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Final week in the House: Tuesday, May 12

During the last week of the session, The Missouri Times will bring you updates of floor activity for each chamber. Below is all the activity in the House from Tuesday, May 12. For live updates on the Senate, click here.

The House briefly convened before recessing again until HB 1693 is distributed or five o’clock, and will then stand adjourned.

At 12:21 p.m., the House recessed until shortly after 2 p.m.

SB 656, veterans and active service members, third read and passed as amended

This bill modifies provisions relating to veterans and active-duty military personnel. It would create two veteran holidays as well as assigning designations to various war memorials and includes various sections on families of servicemen and women.

Various amendments were adopted clarifying language and adding an additional day, known as Honor Guard Appreciation Day, as well as one on service dogs.

The House third read and passed the bill by a vote of 149-4.

SB 569, victims of sexual offenses provisions, TAFP

This bill modifies provisions relating to victims of sexual offenses. It would create the Justice for Survivors Act, the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, and the Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly in the House, passed unanimously in the Senate in April. The bill derived from an audit from the Missouri Attorney General last year which found more than 6,000 untested sexual assault kits throughout the state. The bill aims to streamline the testing process and make it easier for victims to track the kits’ statuses.

The bill grew in the upper chamber to include the “Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights,” which establishes certain protections for victims, including the right to consult with a counselor or support person during the tedious medical or legal process that comes with reporting such crimes. Championed by GOP Sen. David Sater, the measure also protects a victim from having to pay for a rape kit and ensures communications between a counselor and survivor are privileged.

Sen. Jill Schupp also attached an amendment that would increase access to rape kits in the first place — an effort she’s led for more than a year. The measure creates a statewide telehealth network to mentor, train, and provide assistance to medical providers who are conducting forensic examinations, meaning hospitals wouldn’t necessarily have to be staffed with full-time Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) around the clock.

A number of representatives on both sides of the aisle gave testimonials and voiced their support for the bill.

“Today, the votes about more than the paper,” Kelly said. “Today is about making sure that when we’re done this week, that it’s about more than politics and that we bring a voice to the people of Missouri.”

The House truly agreed and finally passed the bill by a vote of 150-3.

Missouri Legislature OK’s measure streamlining rape kit testing process

HB 2046, license reciprocity, third read and passed

This bill modifies provisions related to professional registration and licensing reciprocity.

Bill could mitigate potential medical professional shortage brought on by coronavirus, rep says

Rep. Derek Grier’s bill would allow individuals licensed in certain trades who move to Missouri to be able to apply for a state license by reciprocity. The individual would need to have had his or her out-of-state license for at least a year and be in good standing. The bill has gained traction due to its inclusion of healthcare workers and a shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed through the Senate unanimously before returning to the House.

The House third read and passed the bill with a vote of 120-31.

HB 1450, criminal law, third read and passed

This bill would modify provisions relating to criminal law. Rep. Nick Schroer’s bill covers drug trafficking felonies, housing facilities for inmates, gun crimes, and sentencing, among other related issues.

Debate covered the fentanyl provisions in the bill, as well as the effectiveness of the proposed legislation.

After a brief debate, the House third read and passed the bill by a vote of 99-52.

SB 591, civil actions, TAFP 

This bill modifies provisions relating to civil actions, including unlawful merchandising practices and punitive damages. The bill would alter regulations on punitive damages as well as unlawful merchandise claims.

“This bill is intended to open Missouri’s businesses again,” said the bill handler, Rep. Bruce DeGroot.

The omnibus bill was a point of contention in Senate debate in February after growing from nine to 50 pages with amendments at the time.

Senate’s punitive damages bill doesn’t move … for now

The bill was truly agreed and finally passed by the House with a vote of 98-51.

House gavels in at 10:09 a.m.

The legislative day officially got underway shortly after 10 a.m. with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The chamber then approved the House journal from May 11, 2020.