Senator Denny Hoskins Capitol Report
With more than a quarter of the 2020 legislative session behind us, members of the General Assembly are hard at work advancing bills. This week the Senate took up and passed several pieces of legislation that will now move onto the House of Representatives for its consideration. A few of these measures merit mention.
Senate Bill 623 says that any guardian ad litem appointed to represent an abused or neglected child must meet face-to-face and establish a relationship with the child within seven days of the appointment. The meeting will allow the guardian to observe the child and ascertain his or her wishes and placement needs. Senate Bill 623 requires the child's current custodian to cooperate with the guardian ad litem to schedule the initial meeting. The guardian ad litem will be required to maintain contact with the child throughout the duration of the appointment.
Another measure relating to the care of children that passed this week was Senate Bill 653. This legislation requires that prospective foster parents be provided the "Foster Parents' Bill of Rights" at the time a child is placed, even if the parent has yet to be licensed as a foster parent.
Senate Bill 554 combines two separate pieces of legislation, both relating to the deceased. In its original form the bill established a commission to oversee coroners in Missouri. The bill was amended to include provisions relating to electronic death records and the “right of sepulcher.” The sepulcher provisions clarify next-of-kin laws in a situation of pending divorce. The bill streamlines the filing of death certificates to avoid unnecessary delays in settling estates, filing insurance claims, accessing safety deposit boxes and other activities required following the death of a loved one. These reforms should prove especially beneficial to survivors of military personnel, who may relocate to another state soon after losing their loved one. The two bills that were combined as SB 554 were truly agreed and finally passed in 2019, but both were vetoed by the governor due to an objectionable amendment that was added to each last year. Without the amendment, the legislation is expected to again reach the finish line.
Also noteworthy, we approved Senate Bill 600. This legislation toughens penalties for violent offenders and should help prosecutors begin to address the alarming rise in crime in Missouri’s largest cities.
It was also a busy week in my office, as I met with a number of constituent groups that came to visit the Capitol. Throughout the week we were pleased to welcome several Eagle Scouts from the 21st District, medical professionals representing the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, members of Missouri Farm Bureau and the Johnson County chapter of CLIMB (Community Leadership Involvement Means and Better Community), among others.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.