State Senator sets focuses in new session

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sater pitches bills on abortion, prevailing wage, food stamps

The Missouri Senate is getting off to a slow start this session amidst the glaring headlines concerning the sex scandal plaguing Gov. Eric Greitens, Missouri's 56th governor.

Sater

"We are trying to work on some issues with the governor that have taken the forefront," said State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville.

Despite the slog-fest taking place in Jefferson City, Sater said he is working to get some legislative action approved this session.

"I've filed a bill concerning prevailing wage in Missouri," he said. "I would like it repealed."

The prevailing wage law establishes the minimum wage that must be paid to workers on public construction projects, including roads, bridges and government buildings.

Sater pre-filed Senate Bill 688, which modifies the definitions of "construction" and "maintenance work."

For the definition of construction, Sater proposes "construction, reconstruction, [improvement,] enlargement, [alteration], or painting and decorating, [or major repair] and shall not include "maintenance work."

The bill defines "maintenance work" as the repair, but not the replacement, of existing facilities and shall include repairs that restore existing facilities to a previous state or condition or improve the utility or enhance the appearance of existing facilities when the size, type or extent of the existing facilities is not thereby changed or increased. "Maintenance work" shall also include any improvement done that does not exceed the original cost of the facility.

"This is important for many rural areas in Missouri," Sater said. "There are not many companies in Cassville or Monett that participate in prevailing wage."

With the filing of SB 561, Sater proposes to enforce work requirements for those on food stamps.

"The requirements are pretty loose," Sater said. "They are not obeyed. This bill will strengthen those requirements."

The bill proposes any nonexempt participant who refuses or fails without good cause to comply with the work requirements shall be ineligible to participate in the program for the duration of the disqualification period as follows:

For the first occurrence of noncompliance, the recipient shall be disqualified for three months, and for the second occurrence of noncompliance, the individual will be disqualified for six months. On the third occurrence of noncompliance, the recipient will be disqualified permanently.

If the disqualified individual is the head of the household, the entire family is ineligible for participation unless they re-establish eligibility by complying with work requirements. If a disqualified head of household joins another household, that household is disqualified from participation for the remaining disqualification period.

"There are some exemptions," Sater said. "Those with a child suffering an illness that requires care or individuals attending college or technical school are exempt. Otherwise, recipients are required to seek employment."

In recognition of the opioid epidemic sweeping the state and the nation, Sater has filed SB 825, which limits initial prescriptions of opioid substances to no more the a seven-day supply for treatment of acute pain.

For individuals who have left-over opioids needing disposal, Sater has proposed SB 826, which proposes pharmacies install drop boxes for unused medications.

In an effort to reduce the number of abortions in the state, Sater has proposed SB 724, which prohibits any person from performing or inducing an abortion on a woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in an unborn child. Additionally, this act prohibits any person from performing or inducing an abortion on a woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion solely because of the sex or race of the unborn child.

Additionally, Sater has filed SB 827, modifying the fees for copies of birth certificates, death and marriage certificates for children under the jurisdiction of the Division of Children's or Division of Youth Services.

"Children in foster care will receive their birth certificates free of charge," Sater said. "They need those breaks."

For more information on bills introduced into the 2018 legislative session, people may visit www.house.mo.gov/billcentral.aspx.

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