Will Missouri’s next legislative session produce a solution to the state’s meth problem? That’s the hope of some members of the Springfield City Council, which on Monday voted 5-4 to postpone a prescription only bill concerning cold and sinus medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.
Councilman Craig Fishel, who made the motion to postpone the decision until June 2014, said he hopes the Missouri Legislature will take action on the state level by the end of next session. He was joined in the vote to delay by Mayor Bob Stephens, as well as council members Mike Carroll, Jerry Compton, and Doug Burlison, who had previously suggested putting the issue before a vote of the people.
“If this is going to cause damage to the community, or not, I think some additional time for us to make sure that we’re doing the right thing, and especially to see if the state is going to do their due diligence with this issue, I’m supportive of waiting,” Burlison said Monday.
Council member’s Cindy Rushefsky and Jeff Seifried were among those to voice their opinion against the bill’s postponement, noting the time spent on the issue and the inaction from the state.
“We’ve put it off and put it off; and we’ve looked toward the state to find a solution the last three years and they have been unable to do so and come up with an agreement,” Seifried said.
And while it’s uncertain if an agreement will be reached this next legislative session, it seems plausible that the issue will be brought up again for debate. Eric Jennings is the chief of staff for Missouri Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield.
“He has approached it as he has any other public safety manner. Wants to make sure that anything that the General Assembly passes out, that there’s a full and fair hearing on it. That it’s considered on its merits. He doesn’t come into it with any preconceived notions,” Jennings said.
Jennings admits no bill aimed at curbing methamphetamine production has been introduced in the state Senate over the last three years. During the latest legislative session, which ended in May, a House bill (218) by Rep. Stanley Cox made it to the Senate in late April but was never heard by the Judiciary Committee. Jennings says Sen. Dixon feels it’s likely another bill will be brought up in the House again next year.
Several Missouri cities have already taken it upon themselves to pass laws to reduce meth production. In June, the City of Ozark voted to require a prescription to obtain medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Other local cities to enact prescription-only laws include Branson, Hollister, and Joplin.