A mother’s persistence has led to a change in state law, after her daughter became endangered by her father’s meth habit.
Dennine Odom of Odessa saw three years of work culminate in the signing of Hope’s Law.
"It’s amazing to have Hope here, instead of a predictable tragedy," Odom told the Missourinet, "and that we could all be here together to watch the governor sign into law, Hope’s Law."
Hope Turner is Odom’s young daughter who escaped physically unharmed, but emotionally scarred, during unsupervised visits at the home of her father in Grain Valley. Her father, as his ex-wife Dennine puts it, had fallen into the grip of methamphetamine. Everything came to a head when police arrested the father at gunpoint and removed Hope. Hop was reunited with her mother.
A drug charge against the father stuck, but child endangerment didn’t.
Was Odom surprised?
"I would say surprised is a very soft word as to how I felt about that. I was devastated," Odom said.
It wasn’t against state law to be in possession of meth in the presence of a child. She says state officials compared having meth in the pocket with having beer in the refrigerator.
"You know, you can have beer in the refrigerator, but if you drink and drive, it’s a felony," Odom quoted the officials as saying, "(The) same way with meth. You can have meth in your pocket, but if you’re taking care of a kid and not using it (it’s not against the law)."
Odom added that if a person is in possession of meth, he’s using it.
"And anybody who has been affected by meth in their life knows that’s the truth," Odom said.
Governor Nixon has signed into law HB 62 , an omnibus crime bill that contained Hope’s Law among its provisions. The bill amends child endangerment statutes to include possessing meth in the presence of a child.