Greetings Friends of the 144th Legislative District!
Special Session Delayed
The second extra session of 2020 called by Gov. Parson is now temporarily delayed because of cases of COVID-19 among lawmakers and staff in the Senate. The special session dealing with supplemental funding for the pandemic response and liability protections for health care workers and businesses is now set to resume after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The legislature was called back to Jefferson City by Parson for the second special session that began on Nov. 5. House members acted quickly to approve a nearly $1.3 billion supplemental budget bill designed to allocate additional resources to the state’s pandemic response efforts. The House sent the bill to the Senate on Nov. 10. On Nov. 12, the governor expanded the call of the session to include liability protections for health care providers, manufacturers, businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations.
The Senate was on track to take up the supplemental budget bill and to begin movement on the COVID-19 liability protections before the Thanksgiving holiday, but this week the Senate announced the session would be delayed because of positive COVID-19 tests among lawmakers and staff.
Senate leadership said, “Due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases among members and staff, the Missouri Senate will postpone action related to the extra legislative session until after the Thanksgiving holiday. This decision was not made lightly and, although disruptive, is in the best interest of protecting members, staff and the public.”
The decision to postpone means the special session will continue into December when members will work quickly to finalize both bills. The Senate can complete the supplemental budget bill with a vote, but the liability protection legislation will have to move from the Senate to the House for consideration. House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced that Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann will handle the Senate bill when it makes its way to the House.
Wiemann said about the bill, “If you are a health care worker, a homeowner, a small business owner or the leader of a faith-based institution, you should not live in fear of frivolous litigation or face frivolous litigation during this pandemic. This legislation provides common sense protections to safeguard the health and well-being of Missourians while supporting our state’s continued economic recovery.” He added that the bill “does not offer blanket protection for non-pandemic cases like slips and falls due to negligence.”
The House is next set to meet for technical sessions on Friday, Nov. 20 and Monday, Nov. 30 but will not return for floor action until the Senate meets and approves the liability protection bill.
A Time to Be Thankful
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is important that we recognize the many blessings we are fortunate to have as Missourians and Americans.
This is the time of year to remember that we are truly blessed to live in the greatest nation in the world. Ours is a land built on the principles of freedom, democracy, opportunity, and equality. Here in these United States of America, we can achieve our dreams and raise our families while having peace of mind that we will remain safe and secure.
Thanksgiving is a time to remember that not all Missourians are fortunate enough to have a warm meal and the comforts of a nurturing home. As we appreciate our own blessings, we also must take time to acknowledge that the less fortunate need our help. That’s why the holiday season is a perfect time to work with your church or organizations like the Salvation Army or the local food bank to provide food and clothing to those in need. Your contribution can take the form of donations of goods, or your time if you have it to spare. Whatever the case, know that anything you can do will be of immense help to those who could use a helping hand.
During this time of thanks, let me also express how deeply appreciative I am to have the privilege of serving as your state representative. It has been an honor and a blessing and an experience that has forever altered my life in a profoundly positive way. As I sit down with my own family this Thanksgiving, I will certainly have your family, and all the families of this district, in mind as I think about the legislative session that begins in January and the things we can do as a legislature to make our great state even greater. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve as your voice in the halls of government, and may you have a happy Thanksgiving.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however, I can. I can be reached by email at Chris.Dinkins@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-2112. Please do not contact me via social media. These messages are easy to overlook and may not be responded to in a timely manner.