The White Pages: Inauguration of the 100th General Assembly

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Last week marked the start of the 2019 legislative session, where I was among a class of 17 newly elected senators taking the oath of office to serve in Missouri Senate. For some of us, it was the first time, and for others this ceremony marked the beginning of their last term in the Missouri Senate. I look forward to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to pass meaningful legislation.

Following the swearing in ceremony, I took time to celebrate with family, friends and supporters. It was certainly a wonderful occasion to celebrate, knowing that I have been blessed with the opportunity to return to the Missouri State Capitol and continue the work of the people.

As a freshman senator, I was appointed to seven committees including the Veterans and Military Affairs committee where I will serve as the chairman. I was also appointed to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. This committee monitors the actions of the Legislature based on the Missouri Revisor of Statutes as they relate to state agencies across Missouri. As a lawyer, I am truly honored to serve on this committee with my colleagues from the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives. I understand the importance of ensuring that the policies held by our agencies and boards are up to date, practical and relevant to their daily operations.

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In addition, I was also appointed to the following committees: General Laws, Judiciary, Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence; Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect; Health and Pensions; and Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment.

Prior to the start of the 100th General Assembly, I filed four of the 233 prefiled bills and 50 resolutions in the que for this legislative session.       

The first bill is Senate Bill 65, which states that punitive damages will only be awarded in a lawsuit if the plaintiff proves through clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate disregard for the safety of others. The bill also applies to health care providers who intentionally cause damage or demonstrate malicious conduct.

Another piece of legislation I filed was Senate Bill 67. This bill specifies that persons providing emergency medical services, in certain instances, shall only be liable for gross negligence damages in a potential lawsuit.

Senate Bill 234, specifies that hearing tests shall not be required for commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also provides a process by which CDL applicants with disabilities can request testing accommodations for the written and driving tests. This bill would eliminate an initial barrier an applicant with a hearing impairment may have previously encountered.  

Senate Bill 235 would require health insurance policies to provide coverage for hearing instruments and related services for enrollees under the age of 18. This legislation would provide one hearing aid for each ear every 36 months and include selection and adjustment services. This proposal increases the level of access and affordability of hearing instruments to families with children under the age of 18.

The last proposal is Senate Bill 237. This bill would modify post-conviction treatment programs, allowing the Department of Corrections to place a person on probation into a community based cognitive behavioral intervention program as appropriate.

Despite it still being early in the legislative session, I am determined to carry these important bills across the finish line.  I am honored to have the trust and support of my constituents across the 32nd Senatorial District, and I will continue to stand up for the issues that matter most to the residents of Newton, Dade and Jasper counties.

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may also email me at bill.white@senate.mo.gov.

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