The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry honored lawmakers from both chambers for their work on its priority legislation during the 2021 session.
Chamber President and CEO Daniel Mehan handed out the awards to Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and four legislators during the chamber’s annual meeting in St. Louis Tuesday.
Sen. Holly Rehder and Rep. Travis Smith were recognized as the chamber’s 2021 Freshmen of the Year for shepherding a statewide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) across the legislative finish line this year. Rehder, a first-year senator, championed the bill throughout her tenure in the House and finally saw it pass into law with Smith, a freshman, handling the bill in the lower chamber.
The bill created the Joint Oversight Task Force of Prescription Drug Monitoring within the Office of Administration to partner with a contractor to compile patient data to allow health care professionals access to information on their patients’ prescriptions.
“While Sen. Rehder is always a friend of business, her years of work to finally pass a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri this year is what made her stand out for this honor. A PDMP is needed to help address the opioid epidemic and associated rising health care costs for employers,” Mehan said. “We are very fortunate to have rising leaders like Rep. Smith in Jefferson City.”
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz received the 2021 Spirit of Enterprise Award for his work on economic development and infrastructure in the upper chamber. Mehan pointed to Schatz’s SB 262, which incrementally increases the state’s gas tax by 2.5 cents annually to pay for road and bridge repairs.
“Many people said it was impossible to pass a transportation funding increase in Missouri. But with Sen. Schatz’s leadership we finally accomplished that goal this year,” Mehan said. “SB 262, sponsored by Sen. Schatz, will bring a $1.8 billion positive impact in our state and create more than 17,000 jobs.”
The same award went to Rep. Becky Ruth, chair of the House Transportation Committee, for championing the gas tax increase in the lower chamber this year.
This year’s In the Arena Award, which recognizes elected officials who have “gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect Missouri employers,” went to Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. Mehan praised Kehoe’s leadership in the executive branch and his long career in business outside of the statehouse.
“Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe is a true champion for business in our state. He has long been at the center of Missouri’s efforts to grow jobs and become more competitive for business growth,” Mehan said. “We are very fortunate to have him as lieutenant governor and we look forward to working with him into the future.”
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.