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Nixon Signs Bills to Save Newborns and Improve Reporting on Child Abuse

Kevin Killeen
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(Press photo of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon)

(Press photo of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — To the applause of doctors gathered at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Governor Nixon signed “Chloe’s law,” which requires all newborns in Missouri be tested for critical congenital heart disease.

“Senate Bill 230 is named for four-year old Chloe Manz of Lee’s Summit,” Nixon said, “who was born with a congenital heart problem. Fortunately, her mother Kelly insisted that her daughter be tested with a pulse oximeter. That test led to surgery which repaired her heart and saved her life.”

The simple test involves scanning an infant’s wrist for the amount of oxygen in the blood. The governor says Chloe’s law could save fifty to a hundred lives in Missouri each year.

Also, today, Nixon signed into law House Bill 505, which requires “mandatory reporters” — such as doctors, nurses, teachers and coaches — to notify the state immediately about suspected child abuse. The governor says the bill aims to close a loophole that has allowed abuse reports to languish “in house,” when mandatory reporters tell their superiors within an organization, but the report never reaches the state.

“We all saw what happened in the tragedy at Penn State,” Nixon said, “where the organization received the information and others did not.”

Special Session, Death Row, Rams Stadium

Taking questions from reporters, Nixon was asked if he plans to call a special session of the legislature at the request of Representative Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles) to deal with the plan to transfer students from the unaccredited Normandy school district to the Francis Howell School District some twenty miles away.

Nixon says he has no plans at this time to call a special session.

The governor ducked a question about his position on possibly bringing back the gas chamber for capital punishment in Missouri — something Attorney General Chris Koster has suggested to end the moratorium on executions brought on by a court fight over the use of lethal injection for execution.

Nixon says he’ll leave that issue to the courts for now. “I don’t want to get into a discussion about…(unfinished thought). Once again, most of those issues are part and parcel about what’s going on in the courts,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s Director of Corrections George Lombardi was also present, and he too had “no comment” on bringing back the gas chamber.

The governor was equally evasive about a question on the future of the Rams in St. Louis. After the Convention and Visitors Commission said it can’t afford to pay the $900 million it could cost to fix up the Edward Jones Dome, Rams owner Stan Kroenke was said to be “in talks” with the governor about possible state funding to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

KMOX asked Nixon if he can forsee any deal involving more state money to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

“My focus right now is on seeing on what long term plans they want to do, and we look forward to talking to them about those long term plans,” Nixon said.

Copyright KMOX

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