Fun in the Sun
The summer season is upon us, and as you plan vacations, campouts, float trips and holiday festivities, please be mindful that the COVID-19 virus is still a very real threat, especially for the elderly. You can have fun in the sun while being cognizant of the CDC’s preventive guidelines by maintaining social distance, practicing good hygiene, avoiding large groups of people and staying home if you are sick.
Free COVID-19 Testing Offered in District 32
I believe one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect those around you is to get tested. This is especially true if you are exhibiting symptoms. Please take advantage of these local testing sites and times.
Register at https://health.mo.gov/communitytest or by calling the MO COVID Hotline at 877-435-8411.
The free testing is for MO residents only, and you do not have to show symptoms.
In-Depth Look at the 2020 Legislative Session
Last Wednesday, I appeared on Missouri Southern State University’s television station, KCGS, to discuss the 2020 legislative session’s challenges and successes. In the interview with Judy Stiles, I highlighted my two bills that are awaiting the governor’s signature: the tort reform measure included in Senate Bill 591 and the numerous provisions in Senate Bill 718 that support our state’s veterans. We also discussed the state’s response to COVID-19, balancing the state’s operating budget, the supplemental stimulus money from the federal government, mail-in ballots, criminal justice reform and the constitutional amendments that will appear on ballots in the primary and general elections.
Changes to Unemployment Insurance
Beginning the week of July 5, the Missouri Department of Labor will reinstate three provisions that had been waived due to the effects of the COVID-19 virus on our state. Employers’ accounts will once again be charged for their worker’s claims and protections for employee “work refusals” have been added. Current recipients of unemployment payments must diligently look for work, complete employment applications, and attend job fairs or enroll in a training program. There will also be a one-week waiting period to draw unemployment for new applicants. Visit the Missouri Job Center’s website to learn more about these changes and connect to the available resources.
Honoring a Public Servant
Our communities are full of hardworking, dedicated employees who routinely go above and beyond to help others. On June 18, I had the pleasure of honoring one of these fantastic public servants, Alison Malinowski Sunday. She devoted 40 years to the Lafayette House in Joplin and retired as its executive director last week. I joined her co-workers, peers and other community leaders for a retirement reception and presented her with a Senate courtesy resolution for her years of service. The Lafayette House is a treatment facility in Joplin that helps people with substance use disorders as well as the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It serves more than 1,300 southwestern Missourians each year.
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to learn more about an invasive species that is destroying crops and wreaking havoc on some of our southern, rural communities. The damage caused by a sounder, or a herd of feral hogs, has been so extensive that the Missouri Department of Conservation had to intervene. I fully support the MDC’s stance that these insatiable, disease carrying rooters must be fully eradicated, and I believe trapping entire sounders has proven to be the most effective way of eliminating these prolific breeders from our state. The Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership can help landowners rid their property of these nuisances.
Conservation Announces Managed Deer Hunts
Hunting feral hogs is definitely not recommended, but deer are fair game throughout the Missouri Department of Conservation’s upcoming managed hunts. Apply during the month of July to enter the weighted random drawings, occurring from mid-September through mid-January, for your chance to “take a shot.” Applicants who are not selected for this year’s managed hunts earn “preference points” to count toward future drawings.
Attention Happy Campers!
Earlier this month, Missouri State Parks announced that it will expand the window to reserve campsites from 6 months in advance to one full year. Starting June 30, online reservations may be made at one of Missouri’s 92 parks for 2021, and campers have until 7 p.m. the day before arrival to reserve their favorite spot. COVID-19 precautions have been implemented at the campgrounds to include increased cleaning and sanitation, contactless self-check in features and occupancy restrictions. Missouri’s State Parks offer something for everyone, so please research your options, reserve your site and chalk up a few happy camper memories!
Invite Senator White
If your civic organization, non-profit group or public service agency is planning a meeting or community event, please invite me! The more I can learn from the residents of the 32nd Senatorial District, the better I can represent you in Jefferson City! Please help me get the word out by sharing this graphic on your social media channels!
The Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner, and communities will most likely have to alter their typical celebrations to keep citizens safe. Please exercise extreme caution with fireworks, outdoor burning, campfires and off-roading in the coming months to prevent wildfires and injuries. Remember the words of Smokey Bear, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!”