It is hard to believe it has been an entire year since I took the oath to serve in the Missouri Senate. Now that I am better acclimated to the duties of this prestigious office, I am ready to get back to work serving on committees, listening to constituents and passing legislation that will positively impact Missouri’s citizens and its communities.
During the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast on January 9th, I was invited by the governor to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Ben Carson, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary, provided a motivational keynote to kick off the breakfast.
Eager to dive into this session, I pre-filed 15 bills ranging from tort reform to child protection to health care. My top three priority bills are SB 591, which modifies provisions relating to punitive damages, SB 592, which establishes provisions related to water and sewer infrastructure rate adjustments and SB 593, which modifies provisions relating to public notaries. I will keep you informed on the progression, scheduled hearings and legislative actions of my bills in the coming weeks and months.
I will again chair the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee this session and look forward to passing legislation that improves and enhances the lives of our service members and their families. I have also been appointed to serve on numerous others, including the Joint Committees on Administrative Rules and Child Abuse and Neglect. It will be challenging and rewarding working with my colleagues in the Missouri House of Representatives to develop policies that protect Missourians-especially our vulnerable children.
The other standing committees that I have been appointed to serve are: Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment; General Laws; Health and Pensions; and Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence. I will also be busy with the statutory Committee on Court Automation, Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, Missouri Health Insurance Innovation Task Force and the Prescription Drug Transparency Interim Committee.
The Prescription Drug Transparency Interim Committee, established last May to combat the rising cost of medications, generated numerous ideas for consideration for the General Assembly. Of the comprehensive proposals, my preferred ideas are: require discounts and rebates to be given to the patient, add any compensation received by a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) to the plan’s medical cost ratio, include oversight regulation of PBMs to increase accountability, regulate the practice of spread pricing in pharmacy benefit contracts, prohibit requiring individuals to use specialty or mail-order pharmacies and provide adequate and transparent reimbursement for pharmacies.
During the interim, I had the privilege of participating in several notable events in our community. On December 23, a group of volunteers and I assisted with Wreaths Across America at the Carterville Cemetery. The patriotic ceremony honors and memorializes our veterans with a wreath and salute.
On Nov. 7, I was the humble recipient of the Missouri Hospital Association’s (MHA) 2019 Health Policy Leadership Award. Ron Monsees, vice president of State Legislation for the association, presented the plaque at their annual convention in Osage Beach.
MHA selected me for this honor for my efforts to streamline regulatory requirements and ensure that patients and caregivers are at the center of care, instead of the insurance companies.
“Senator White has been a champion of improving health and health care in southwest Missouri and statewide” said Paula Baker, President and CEO of Freeman Health System in Joplin, MO.
MHA spearheaded the Reimagine Rural Health campaign in 2019 to help rural areas have better access to quality and affordable care.
Even though it is early in the legislative session, I am determined to carry my sponsored bills across the finish line. This will require assistance from my constituents, and I hope that you will consider getting involved this session by testifying at hearings and sharing your stories and experiences with my staff and fellow legislators.
I continue to be grateful for the trust and support of my constituents across the 32nd Senatorial District, and I will continue to stand up for the issues that matter most to the residents of Newton, Dade and Jasper counties.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2173. You may also email me at email@example.com.