Missouri State Representative Kevin Corlew represents Missouri House district 14. Most of Representative Corlew’s district is in Platte County, but a small portion of it extends into Clay County. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we publish these newsletters from elected officials please click here.
House Approves Legislation Expanding Screenings of Newborns (HB 66)
The Missouri House approved legislation this week that would expand screenings of newborns in Missouri to look for two more life-threatening diseases.
The bill would require that infants be screened for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and mucopolysaccharidosis II (MPS II), otherwise known as Hunter syndrome. Both are genetic diseases that can be fatal. Supporters say the earlier they are detected, the better outcomes can be.
The sponsor said the bill, “gives families hope and it gives us a chance to save the lives of even more babies here in Missouri.”
SMA results in a loss of physical strength that can include a lessened ability to walk, eat, or breathe. It is the leading genetic cause of death for infants. Hunter syndrome is caused by an enzyme deficiency that results in the buildup of harmful molecules that can affect a person’s appearance, mental development, organ function, and physical abilities. An estimated 2,000 people have Hunter syndrome worldwide, with about 500 of those living in the U.S.
With new treatments becoming available, earlier detection for these conditions could improve the lives or increase the lifespan of those children who have them.
The sponsor of the bill believes there should be little or no additional cost to screen for SMA, and screening for Hunter syndrome can be done “very reasonably.” The bill would make the additional screenings subject to annual funding by the state, and would allow the Department of Health and Senior Services to increase its newborn screening fees to pay for the additional tests.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
Protecting Missouri’s Peace Officers (HBs 57, 302 & 228)
The Missouri House of Representatives took action this week to deter crimes against law enforcement officials. House members approved legislation that would create enhanced penalties for individuals who assault officers of the law. These enhancements are necessary because crimes against peace officers have increased in recent years. The bill reinforces the legislature’s commitment to law enforcement.
In another piece of legislation, the Missouri House approved a measure this week to create a Blue Alert System. This would ensure that law enforcement officials quickly receive the information they need to apprehend individuals who injure or kill peace officers. Similar to the Amber and Silver Alert systems, the Blue Alert system would send out identifying information such as a physical description of the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle. Twenty-seven states already have a similar system in place.
These bills now move to the Senate for consideration.
Removing Burdensome Regulations for Hair Braiders (HB 230)
The Missouri House took action this week to reduce the burdensome regulations placed on hair braiders. Both Governor Greitens and House leadership have made it a priority to reduce the number of regulations that too often stifle economic development in the state. The legislation passed this week specifies that hair braiders do not have to obtain a cosmetology license in order to earn a living.
Currently in Missouri, hair braiders have to obtain a cosmetology license that requires 1,500 hours of training that is not relevant to the practice of braiding. This bill would eliminate that requirement, making it easier to open a small business. As the sponsor of the bill noted, the current regulatory scheme “destroys economic opportunity and rigs the system against predominantly lower and middle-class minority women.”
Nearly 50 percent of Missouri workers are employed by small businesses. Lowering regulations, like hair braiding requirements, would encourage job creation in Missouri.