Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing parents more time to give up newborns, requiring screening for a heart defect and dealing with mandatory reporters of child abuse.
Nixon held a bill signing ceremony Tuesday at St. Louis Children's Hospital. In front of dozens of doctors and child advocates, the Democratic governor signed a bill that he said will close a loophole for child abuse reporting.
“House bill 505 requires that suspected child abuse be reported immediately – not to a superior, not to an internal committee, but directly to the children’s division," Nixon said. "This will help to eliminate delays, and make it clear that it’s an individual’s responsibility to report abuse promptly and directly, rather than just turn it over to someone else.”
Mandatory reporters suspecting child abuse or neglect currently can pass the information to another person in their organization. Now the information will now go directly to state officials.
Nixon brushed aside a call from St. Charles County Representative Mark Parkinson for a special session to change Missouri's transfer law, following a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that allowed Normandy district children to be bussed to the Francis Howell district.
"It is a slap in the face of every family living in the Francis Howell School District to be forced, without consent, to accept students from outside the district," Parkinson said last week, according to the Post-Dispatch.
On Tuesday, Nixon said there's no special session on the horizon.
"I don't see a special session. I have four more days to finish reading and acting on what they sent me from the last one," Nixon said. "That law has existed for a long time, and there are measures to deal with it. I appreciate the representative's request, but at this particular juncture, I don't think that's an issue that warrants a special session."
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