It seems that time really does fly. There are just four weeks remaining in this year’s Missouri legislative session. House members are working to move forward multiple bills before session’s end.

It seems that time really does fly. There are just four weeks remaining in this year’s Missouri legislative session. House members are working to move forward multiple bills before session’s end.
Last week the House advanced legislation that seeks to prevent fetal tissue from being donated for medical or scientific use. House bills 2069 and 2371 specifically prohibit an individual from knowingly donating fetal organs or tissue to any person or entity for experimental, therapeutic or any research purpose. These bills stem from the recommendations of two House interim committees that met to investigate allegations Planned Parenthood sold tissue and organs from aborted fetuses.
Last year an anti-abortion group released a series of videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing how the organization disposes of fetal remains. Pro-life activists claim the video proved that Planned Parenthood was selling the tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood claimed these allegations were not true and any costs associated with the tissue were only to recover related expenses.
In addition to placing a ban on donations of fetal tissue from abortions, legislation approved by the House would establish a tracking system for how fetal remains are disposed. It would require all tissue removed during an abortion to be sent to a pathologist.
Currently, only a representative sample of the tissue removed at the time of the abortion is required to be sent. Under the proposed bill, each specimen of fetal tissue must be given an identification number to allow that sample to be tracked from the abortion facility or hospital where the procedure was performed to the pathologist lab and on to the final disposal location.
House bills 2069 and 2371 also would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to conduct annual, unannounced, on-site inspections and investigations of abortion facilities.
Missouri’s General Assembly has passed some of the toughest anti-abortion legislation in the nation. As a result, Planned Parenthood operates only one abortion-performing clinic — in St. Louis.
It is the consensus of many legislators that no tax dollars should go to any abortion provider. The legislation is on its way to the Senate.
Last week the House also gave overwhelming support to legislation that would provide additional assistance to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The House approved HB 1428 that seeks to change our state’s law to allow mental health service dogs to be on the same level as traditional service dogs. This bill revises the definition of service dogs to include animals that provide support or therapeutic functions for individuals with psychiatric or mental disabilities.
The mental health service dog bill’s sponsor said the change is necessary to provide additional support to the many combat veterans who return home with PTSD or with a traumatic brain injury. It also was noted that the global war on terror has created approximately 2.7 million veterans, with 20 percent of those suffering from PTSD and more than an estimated 300,000 suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
By adding the definition of mental health service dogs to the statute, it’s hoped that returning veterans suffering from PTSD and others with mental health problems can benefit from the assistance of service dogs. Therapeutic dogs can guide a disoriented individual to safety, find a family member for assistance or stop obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviors. Because of the many benefits of mental health service dogs, this bill puts them on the same level as traditional service dogs.
The session is rapidly winding down as there still are numerous bills coming to the House floor for debate and discussion. This year’s load of bills has been very large. We have put in some long days trying to handle as many of them as possible. Despite this, it’s starting to look like there is a good possibility we may not get through all of them before the gavel comes down for the final time this session.

Bill Reiboldt represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Missouri House of Representatives.