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Missouri Senate passes Blue Alert bill

Legislators in Jefferson City unanimously passed Senate Bill 34, which creates the crime of illegal reentry but also includes an amendment to create the Blue Alert system.

Gov. Eric Greitens has been pushing for the creation of the system since taking office in January, and many speculated he would call a special session if it did not pass during the regular 2017 session.

The system is similar to an Amber Alert, and would send out emergency notices to help capture those who are responsible for causing serious injury or death to law enforcement officers.

With less than two days left in the 2017 session, other major issues are still on the table including the Real ID Act. The Senate passed it Wednesday night and now it’s in the House.

While it will require Missourians to get a new license to be compliant if it passes, if it does not pass they’ll have to get a passport and a license will not be admissible as a form of identification.

“That’s probably the biggest thing we still have on our plate,” said Rep. Chuck Basye. “If it doesn’t, it’s going to cause a lot of problems if the federal government doesn’t back down, which it won’t.”

Lawmakers speculate legislation to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program will likely die this session although the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Holly Rehder said she will continue to have talks in committee about the bill through the end of the week.

Republican infighting all but paralyzed the Senate in recent weeks, and lawmakers said that caused many bills to slip through the cracks.

Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch said she felt like the House passed a lot of bills that didn’t go anywhere in the Senate.

“It kind of got stalled out on the other side of the building,” she said.

Basye said that it made for tense relations between the House and the Senate this session.

“It’s just made it for a really frustrating feeling with a lot of the people in the House,” said Basye. “A lot of hard work went into these things, but that’s the process and that’s what we have to deal with.”

Reisch said there has been a lot of work on tort reform in the House. She said she’s hoping to get more done for small businesses.

“We’re trying to make Missouri more business friendly, less regulations and smaller government,” she said. “We want people to know we’re open for business in Missouri.”

Reisch said she’s proud that legislators were able to fully fund the foundation formula for the first time ever.

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