ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (KMZU) — July 8th turned out to be a big day in Missouri politics after a visit to St. Joseph Youth Alliance by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Nixon followed up on legislation he signed in 2010, taking recommendations from the Missouri Taskforce on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, while signing four different bills. Speaking before a small gathering of citizens and politicians alike, the Governor expressed his satisfaction in the bipartisanship that went into passing the legislation.
Click below to hear an excerpt from Governor Jay Nixon’s Speech
The Governor spoke of legislation recommended by the Missouri Taskforce on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children. The heart of the Taskforce recommendation was in Senate Bill 341, allowing the state to take action against abusers under the age of 14, a situation in which the government’s hands were previously tied. The new bill allows Missouri Children’s Division to perform a “Family Assessment” on the family of a child who has allegedly conducted sexual abuse against another child.
With the legislators who drafted the legislation beside him, the Governor signed Senate Bill 341 and Senate Bill 321, allowing victims of sexual assault to seek orders of protection from Missouri courts regardless of the perpetrator of the crime, House Bill 1149, clarifying the role of the Division of Youth Services and their ability to receive and distribute youth wages as well as establish on the job youth training, and House Bill 531, a bill requiring e-cigarette liquids to meet federal child-resistant effectiveness standards.
Click below to hear KMZU’s Justin Aldred interview State Representative Sheila Solon
Possibly most excited for the Governor’s signature on House Bill 531 was State Representative Sheila Solon, who sponsored the bill. Missouri is the third state to pass such legislation, after the death of a New York toddler related to the product. Rep. Solon noted that Emergency/Poison Control had seen a 300% increase in calls concerning liquid nicotine, which can send children into seizures, or strike them violently ill after ingestion.
The liquid can come in flavors that attract children such as chocolate or bubblegum, can be absorbed through the skin, and can reportedly be fatal to children in amounts as small as one teaspoon. The new law is aimed at keeping children safe by requiring bottles containing the liquid to meet federal child-resistant standards.
Click below to hear KMZU’s Justin Aldred interview State Representative Diane Franklin
State Representative Diane Franklin, who chairs the Committee on Children and Families, spoke with KMZU about Senate Bill 341 and Senate Bill 321, which cover a lot of ground in Missouri law. The legislation calls for licensed child care facilities to provide and implement safe sleep policies, consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Recommendations, and also calls for such facilities to use a discreet parental notification system to allow families of children to know if there are unimmunized children at the facility their child attends. The new laws also update the definition of stalking in Missouri to be aligned with federal law.
Click below to hear KMZU’s Justin Aldred with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
KMZU’s Justin Aldred was able to speak with the Governor after the legislation was signed; a motivated Governor Nixon held that “This will be a greater public safety, especially for victims of sexual assault.” The event was a bright day for Missouri politics and the protection of Missouri youth, but ended on a bittersweet note, with Governor Nixon expressing the need for more work to be done, specifically in the area of healthcare, as he stated “Missourian’s are sending two billion dollars a year to be dispersed to other states to be used to improve their healthcare system, while we’re continuing to see the constriction of our healthcare system here in the state and it’s beginning to drag our economy.”