Sometimes when tragedy strikes it seems like all you can do is hold on. Hold on to your faith, your family and your friends. Once again, I witnessed our community show a family that they still care, and love them. 

Earlier this year a young man, Tayler Turpin, was in a tragic boating accident. At this year’s fair, his sister showed a hog at the auction. As the bidding went higher and higher, it was obvious that something special was taking place. A group of people known as, “Turp Tribe,” were on a mission. Their goal was to show a younger sister, a mother and a father that Tayler will never be forgotten, and that they are eager to do whatever they can to comfort the family. [Editor's Note: Read more about this HERE]

When the bidding ended, and a hundred or so people held up their bidding numbers, and it was a sight to behold. Tammy and Steve can be proud to have raised a young man that touched so many lives. I am proud of our community, once again. 

Years ago, when Tayler was a young boy I had the privilege of coaching him in baseball for many years. One of my fondest memories of that time was when I would pitch to him, he would squint his eyes and have this great half-grin on his face. That is just one of my own fond memories of Tayler, and I know there are countless more that many have and will cherish. 

 

Vital Piece of Child Protection Legislation Signed into Law (HB 397) 

The legislature’s efforts to protect vulnerable young people in Missouri took an important step forward recently when Gov. Mike Parson signed HB 397 into law. The bill will protect underage victims of sex trafficking and implement a host of other provisions meant to ensure the health and wellbeing of children in all parts of the state.

The sponsor of the bill said, “With Governor Parson’s signing of HB 397, we are bringing Missouri in line with federal law, giving additional tools to law enforcement to crack down on those who are selling and buying our children, and taking another step to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking.”

The legislation started as a vehicle to ensure young people who are forced into prostitution aren’t further traumatized by facing criminal charges. Current law in Missouri makes it an affirmative defense for a minor charged with prostitution to have been acting under coercion at the time of the crime. House Bill 397 will remove the coercion requirement and make it an affirmative defense that the defendant was under the age of 18. 

The legislation will also allow a person guilty of prostitution while a minor to apply to the courts to have records of that crime expunged. In addition, it will add some offenses related to child abuse and sex trafficking to the state law’s definition of “pattern of criminal gang activity.”

Over the course of the 2019 legislative session, the bill grew in scope to become a comprehensive child protection measure. The bill also includes:

• Hailey’s Law, which is meant to better protect children by improving the state’s Amber Alert system.

• Simon’s Law, which prevents do-not-resuscitate orders from being issued for Missouri children without parental approval.

• Nathan’s Law, which makes unlicensed day care facilities safer for Missouri children.

• Improvements to the state’s child fatality review panels, which will help save the lives of young people by allowing the panels to share vital information.

• Important changes to the state’s foster care system ensuring children have access to healthcare.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss an issue, please call (573) 751-9459. You can also email me at randy.pietzman@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.     

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