After checking up on Jefferson County’s state representatives in my last post, I will now examine what bills our state senators have put forth in this new legislative session.
Gary Romine, R, 3rd district, Farmington – Romine’s district covers the southern part of the county, roughly south of a line from Dittmer to Festus (map here). The district also covers Iron, Reynolds, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, and Washington counties. He has a lot of bills. I will hit the highlights.
One bill of Romine’s I will call the Bob Shockey bill. Here’s a description:
Currently, under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), a practice is unlawful when the protected trait is a contributing factor in the decision to discriminate. This act changes that standard to a motivating factor standard. The plaintiffs in employment and age discrimination cases have the burden of proving these standards.
Recall that Arnold police chief Bob Shockey sued the city back in 2013. His goals were to 1) damage the mayoral campaigns of incumbent Ron Counts’ opponents, and 2) make some money for himself. He claimed that he was being discriminated against, and listed all the ways he was supposedly being bullied. But to sue for discrimination you have to be part of a protected class, and the only one Shockey qualifies for was being over age 40, so he tacked that claim onto his suit with no evidence that it was the reason for his treatment.
Anyway, under Romine’s bill, Shockey would have to prove that his age was the motivating factor for his treatment (not incompetence). That is a much higher legal bar, I submit that Shockey would not have gotten his bogus $70,000 settlement had this law been in affect three years ago. This is not to say that I think Shockey had anything to do with Romine’s interest in this issue.
Romine also has a bill regarding high school equivalency degree exams that appears to be similar to what Rep. Gannon proposed over in the House. It would waive the test-taking fee for first-timers. He has another bill just like Gannon’s, this one urging the creation of the Joachim Creek Joint Task Force to fight flooding in DeSoto.
Another bill, reported here, would rename the new Jay Nixon State Park. Romine doesn’t like Nixon allowing a park to be named after himself, and he think the money to buy the park, which was intended for lead belt restoration and remediation, was misused.
Other bills of Romine’s eliminate property taxes for disabled veterans, modify the crime of animal trespass, prohibit two-way communications devices in jails, change bingo regulations, modify titling for junk cars, and modify employer arbitration agreements.
Paul Wieland, R, 22nd district, Imperial – Wieland covers the bulk of Jefferson County, and no other counties. One of his bills would allow a pregnant woman to enroll in a health insurance program at any time, not just during open enrollment periods. Another bill would allow life insurance companies to exclude coverage for suicide within the first year after the plan was issued. Wieland is an insurance agent.
Another bill repeals provisions of law that require the licensing and taxation of peddlers by counties.
Finally, Wieland is again proposing to repeal the death penalty in Missouri, in line with his Catholic pro-life views. He has tried this the past two years. Last year this bill made it out of committee but did not get a vote on the Senate floor.