The Missouri House is expected to give final approval to prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) legislation this week in Jefferson City, possibly as early as Monday afternoon.
Missouri is the only state in the nation without a PDMP, which is an electronic database that collects data on controlled substance prescriptions within a state. State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Scott City, the bill sponsor, says we must listen to addiction specialists and doctors.
“We have to allow our recovery people to be the ones that tell us what they need for the tools in their toolbox, not those of us in the Legislature,” Rehder tells Capitol reporters.
The House voted last week 95-56 to give initial approval to the bill. Rehder’s bill had bipartisan support, with every House Democrat voting for it, including House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield.
The debate took about five hours and was emotional at times, as Representative Rehder talked about getting her grandchild out of a meth lab. She also talked about the impact the opioid epidemic is taking on Missouri families.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, voted for Rehder’s bill, as he has every year. He’s a longtime PDMP supporter.
The 56 no votes came from Republicans, including House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, and House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold.
State Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis, and other PDMP opponents say it would not stop illegal drug problems.
As for Rehder, she says Missouri Senate leaders would like to get it off the table earlier this session. She notes Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, and Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, back PDMP.
“I’m so hopeful that possibly it will come to the floor early (this year) in the Senate and that it will be allowed the time for a filibuster,” says Rehder.
Rehder’s 2019 bill was approved by the House on a bipartisan 103-53 vote, but it died in the Senate, primarily because of opposition from State Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, and other members of the Senate Conservative Caucus.
Hoskins, who has privacy concerns, tells Missourinet that state government databases haven’t worked in other states. He says PDMP “has a long way to go to become law.”
“I’m not in favor of passing a bill that doesn’t work just to say we’ve ‘done something.’ Simply said, state government databases have not worked well in other states that have them. I, as well as many of my Senate colleagues, have concerns about this legislation as currently drafted. The Conservative Caucus has some ideas on how to make this House bill better to protect the privacy of Missouri citizens and we look forward to working on the bill during the upcoming weeks,” Senator Hoskins said on Sunday.
Rehder disagrees with Hoskins’ privacy concerns, saying 49 other states have PDMP. She says Missouri needs to battle drug addiction problems on the front end, and that PDMP gives physicians and medical professionals easier access.
Before Thursday’s adjournment, Floor Leader Vescovo told House members to be ready for PDMP on Monday afternoon. The House gavels-in at 4 p.m.
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