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Legalized needle exchange program

The Missouri senate battle for needle exchange programs is heating up. Talk of a needle exchange program has been going on for several years. But a recent bill to decriminalize a needle exchange program has gone from a simple idea to a bloated 195 page bill after countless amendments were added at the house level.

Sen. Bob Onder tried to kill the bill saying, “About 36 hours left in session. And this is what we’re doing. We’re gonna kill it on a conference committee report that’s not gonna pass.” He attempted to send the bill back to conference to add regulations barring abortion providers and affiliates from receiving Medicaid funds.

But some lawmakers were skeptical of Onder’s goals and motivations. Some lawmakers argued that funds to abortion providers and their affiliates have already been limited through the state budget and accused Onder of acting on personal resentments. A handful of lawmakers are leaning towards stripping the bill of certain amendments entirely instead of attempting to create compromising language in order to get it passed by the deadline.

Sen. Mike Moon took issue with the bill saying that its scope was much to wide. Meanwhile, Sen. Paul Wieland argued that the bill had seen so many additions, subtractions, and modifications in such a short time that it was impossible to tell what had actually made it into the bill, saying “I’m suspicious now…I don’t know what’s in your bill.”

All this took place with the shadow of the congressional map update looming over them. If the senate cannot agree on this bill or if they continue to filibuster and deliberate then it could prove disastrous for the upcoming primary election.

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