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Missouri's opioid drug database hurdle cleared, but House delays vote; REAL ID a step further

Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, 2014
St Louis Public Radio

A proposal to finally create a prescription drug monitoring program was revived in the Missouri House on Tuesday, while the Senate came to terms with a 12-year-old federal ID law.

Friday is the end of the 2017 legislative session. Here’s a more detailed look at the action Tuesday (and very early Wednesday), as well as a count of how many bills were sent to Gov. Eric Greitens:

Prescription drug monitoring program


The last-in-the-nation statewide opioid prescription database has been revived — a change from Monday.


Rep. Holly Rehder, a Sikeston Republican who’s been pushing for such a database in the last few years, said Tuesday night that she’ll accept the Senate’s six-month record purge provision in its version of the bill.


"This is our best path forward," she said, asking to dissolve conference committee and approve the Senate version. But she delayed a vote after some debate to get House members more information.

GOP Rep. Holly Rehder in the House chamber on Tues., May 9, 2017.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
GOP Rep. Holly Rehder in the House chamber on Tuesday.

Senators said Monday that they wouldn’t budge from their version of the bill, which included the purging of records that Rehder believes makes it harder to spot drug abuse.


If the House passes the bill as-is, it will go to the governor.


The statewide database is meant to help tamp down the state’s opioid crisis, though several cities and counties already have set up their own.


The Senate version also requires physicians to participate in the database for certain prescribed painkillers, while Rehder’s bill had called for a voluntary program and would have permanently kept prescription records for a broader range of drugs.

Real ID

The Missouri Senate approved an amended REAL ID bill that passed 28-5 at about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. It’ll have to return to the House before going any further.

The measure addresses some Republicans’ concerns about privacy and allows Missouri to issue two types of licenses: one that adheres to federal standards and one that doesn’t.

Missouri is one of four states that haven’t adopted federal REAL ID standards put forth by former President George W. Bush’s administration as a means of fighting terrorism.

Tuesday’s amendments will:

  • Allow driver’s license applicants to choose between a compliant or noncompliant license; original House version would give compliant license unless specifically requested otherwise
  • Add criminal penalties for misuse of driver’s data or unlawful distribution of said data
  • Ban storage of Social Security numbers in any database accessible by the federal or state governments, except as otherwise provided
  • Prohibit use of RFID (radio frequency identification) chips; GOP Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City says they’re no longer a part of the federal law

Also, Missouri’s free voter IDs would not comply with federal Real ID law with the Senate's changes.
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson urged the legislature in a news release to pass the law to avoid "a possible special session," an idea Greitens also has floated.


“The Real ID Act was born out of concern for terrorist threats across our country," he wrote, "and while those concerns are valid, Missourians should not have to pay the price for the Legislature’s inaction." 

Number of bills sent to the governor Tuesday: 2

The Senate passed a measure saying a city's or county's population changes won't keep it from the "operation of any particular law." Essentially, it allows St. Louis to remain a city or a county and it'll still be covered by some laws that refer to it indirectly as "a city with a population of," even if the population is lower.

The chamber also gave Greitens a bill that limits a member of the Missouri National Guard to file a complaint against his or her commanding officer with Adjutant General, removing the governor as an option. 

Of note

Missouri senators serve themselves barbeque on Tues., May 9, 2017.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

  • Senators noshed on barbeque before their afternoon meeting. 
  • On a voice vote, the House approved an amendment, sponsored by St. Louis Democratic Rep. Fred Wessels, to allow the city of St. Louis to ask its voters for a property tax hike to raise more money for city police. The amendment was added to a broad bill dealing with local governments around the state, and Senate approval would still be needed. He noted St. Louis  County voters approved a sales tax hike in April for policing. 

  • The House adjourned at about 10:30 p.m.

Krissy Lane contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @marshallgreport; Jo: @jmannies; and Jason: @jrosenbaum

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.