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Nature’s furry caused the Missouri Senate to adjourn early this week, as a majority of the state is anticipated to see ice or snow. As this column is written, winter storm warnings are in effect for a good portion of the state. I advise you and your loved ones to stay home as the storm passes; however, if you absolutely must travel on the roads, please stay safe.

Before lawmakers left Jefferson City for the week, my legislation (SB 34) to create a workers’ compensation claims database received approval in the Missouri Senate and was sent to the House for consideration. As many of you know, the matter of workers’ compensation is a top priority for Missouri — the workers’ compensation act applies to every employer who employs five or more people, so our actions in Jefferson City apply to a majority of Missouri businesses. As a former business owner, I understand the clockwork of how small businesses operate in Missouri, and I want to help protect Missouri employers and employees alike. We need to provide employees the security of knowing they’ll be protected on the job, should they have the unfortunate experience of getting hurt, while ensuring employers can continue to thrive and strengthen our state’s economy.

Senate Bill 34 would require a workers’ compensation claims database that would be accessible to potential employers through the Division of Workers’ Compensation website. Claims records are only retrievable by an employer, who, during a pre-hire period provides a potential employee’s name and Social Security number. In addition, that potential employer would need to, upon retrieval, identify the date of any claim made by a prospective employee and whether the claim is open or closed. A person who fraudulently accesses the database would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Currently, if a potential employer wants a job applicant’s workers’ compensation claims from the Division of Workers’ Compensation, it takes a couple weeks, as a written request is needed. This timeframe is inconvenient for prospective employers and employees alike; job applicants want to be on the payroll as soon as possible, while employers want the open position filled and to get their new employee acquainted with the company. Going the digital route for this process would make accessing workers’ compensation claims less troublesome, and allow more Missourians to get to work as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading this legislative column and for your interest in state government. If you have any questions about SB 34, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office.

Guests to the Missouri Capitol

Although our week at the Capitol was shortened, I had the privilege of meeting several groups from across the state, including representatives from Empire District Electric Co., representatives of the Oregon County Ambulance District, the Texas County Right to Life, West Plains Christian Clinic, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Missouri Athletic Trainers’ Association. I also had the privilege of meeting Miranda Reed, a senior at Licking R-VIII High School, who job shadowed me on Wednesday. It was a pleasure to meet this young lady and share with her the joys of serving in public office.

If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, please don’t hesitate to contact my capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

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