A proposal to enhance state emergency health powers is being considered at the State Capitol. A Senate Committee has expressed concerns about the powers it gives the Governor. This proposal has September 11th firmly in mind. It allows the state to issue temporary licenses for out-of-state health care workers who come here to help in an emergency. It exempts emergency workers fromliability, creating a legal expense fund to pay awards against the state. Senator Sarah Steelman of Rolla worries about a proposed change that would give the Governoremergency powers not just in times of disaster, but when there is an imminent threat of one. Sponsor Marvin Singleton of Seneca tries to assure her there are safeguards. Interim Health Director Ron Cates understands the concerns, but doesn’t want lawmakers to hamstring the Governor. Cates says state emergency health powers need to be brought up-to-date, noting the mindset before September 11th had always centered on natural disasters.
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