My Fellow Missourians:

I drove to the Capitol a little early on Monday for a very special presentation. It was my privilege to present Mel Gilbert of Buffalo with a resolution in honor of completing the Passport Stamp Program with the Missouri State Park System on April 10 in conjunction with the Missouri State Park System’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. There are 88 state parks and historic sites in the passport program, and Mr. Gilbert has visited them all. He has completed every National Park Passport Stamp in the Passport to Your National Parks program that encompasses over 400 parks throughout the United States.

The 100th Anniversary Celebration was held in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday morning by the Department of Natural Resources in recognition of Missouri’s outstanding state park system and Missouri’s parks offer more than 2,000 structures, 3,600 campsites, 194 cabins almost 2,000 picnic sites, and more than 1,000 miles of trail. About 18 million people visit Missouri state parks annually to hike, camp, fish, discover the past and explore nature.

Donate Life-blue and Green day at the capitol:

Lawmakers and staff wore blue and green on Tuesday in an effort to promote organ donation. The event is part of the annual National Donate Life Blue and Green Day to encourage Missourians to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

During the event, more than 75 family members representing 28 donors were in attendance to promote organ donation. On behalf of the Donate Life Missouri organization and the Governor’s Organ Donation Advisory Committee, District 125 constituent, Deb Simaitis, was presented with a House Resolution in the House Chamber. Members paused for a moment of silence in honor of the lifesaving efforts made by organ donors. Deb, who is Chairperson of the Governor’s Advisory Committee, spearheaded the events at the Capitol on Tuesday which included educational booths, an organ donor registry drive in the 3rd Floor Rotunda and a reception for organ donor families.

House members moved to support organ donation in Missouri by giving approval to HB105 that I sponsored, which would continue the organ donor program fund tax checkoff on state income tax returns. The checkoff is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. The bill approved by the House would remove the sunset entirely and allow the checkoff to continue indefinitely. Supporters say the checkoff has been very successful, along with the driver’s license donations, Employee Charitable Campaign and direct donations in funding the Organ and Tissue Donor Program.

House approves change to motorcycle helmet requirements:

Current law requires that all motorcycle riders wear protective headgear while the vehicle is in motion. The bill, HB576, approved by the House this week would modify this requirement to apply only to individuals under 21 years of age. Individuals 21 and older would be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet as long as they have completed a motorcycle safety education course or have possessed a motorcycle license for at least two years, and are covered by a health insurance policy. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.