The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 15, 2012

Susan Redden: Improved state response on child abuse goal of House measure

State Rep. Bill Lant was happy on Friday about something that should affect a subject that upsets him greatly.

Lant said he learned from the office of Gov. Jay Nixon that a bill he sponsored this year aimed at improving Missouri programs to stem child abuse and neglect will become law.

Nixon didn’t sign the bill, and didn’t veto it, meaning the bill can become effective without the governor’s signature, the lawmaker said.

The bill will establish the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, with the goal of improving state systems that help and protect children.

It’s a concern that was brought to the state representative primary by a number of teachers in his district and a cause he’s been pushing for some time. Once he started looking into the problem, he said, “I can’t drop it, it’s eating me up.

“One in four children in the state are sexually or physically abused prior to age 9. That is totally unacceptable and I’m going to do whatever I can to address it,” Lant said.

The panel will comprise seven members of the House and seven members of the Senate who will study the state child abuse and neglect reporting and investigation system and make recommendations for improvements. The committee will be required to, among other things, devise a plan to improve the structured decision making regarding the removal of a child from a home, determine the additional personnel and resources necessary to improve the state’s child protection system, address the need for additional foster care homes, and improve the quality of care provided to abused and neglected children in the custody of the state.

Lager versus Kinder

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, in Joplin on Friday, responded to a campaign statement from Sen. Brad Lager in the wake of Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill of Senate bill 749.

In the statement, Lager, who is challenging Kinder for re-election, said the veto demonstrates “how important it is that Missouri elects pro-life leaders.”

The measure vetoed by the governor targeted requirements that insurance provide contraceptive coverage, saying no one would be compelled to obtain coverage, discriminated against or penalized for refusing coverage that is contrary to their religious believes or moral convictions.

Lager, who voted for the bill, said the state needs “real conservatives who will stand up for our religious liberties, not career politicians like Jay Nixon and Peter Kinder, who bow to the interests of radical pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood.”

Kinder pointed out he has a better record on such issues and more consistent endorsements from Missouri Right to Life than his opponent.

“It’s important for Missouri to look for a true conservative, but also a truthful conservative,” he said after a press conference at Cunnningham Park to announce the creation of a House committee to study disaster response.

“I am the only candidate in this race with years of pro-life endorsements form Missouri Right to Life,” Kinder said. “One of my proudest achievements was receiving the MRL Defender of Life award for my work on passing the first bill banning partial-birth abortion in Missouri and leading the effort to override Gov. (Mel) Carnahan’s veto.”

A Facebopok posting by Kerry Messer, with Missouri Family Network, called Lager’s release “over the top in the misleading category”

Messer said Kinder had earned a reputation as one of Planned Parenthood’s worst political enemies who had voted consistently to restrict abortions at every opportunity while in the Missouri Senate.

Records show Lager’s last MRL endorsement was in 2004.


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