41 investigation leads to action at MO Capitol

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:34:12-04

The top lawmaker in the Missouri House said he'll take action on a stalled suicide awareness bill after 41 Action News confronted him about why he hadn't put the bill up for a vote in the two months since it unanimously passed a bipartisan House committee.

House Speaker Todd Richardson first told us, "I intend to put the bill on the calendar."

When we pressed, he said, "It will go on the calendar this week."

Jason Flatt Act

House Bill 1656 is based on the Jason Flatt Act, which requires training for teachers to spot potential warning signs. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people.

"On legislation such as this, that is truly life saving, you know, I would expect there would've been more movement on it," said State Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City) who introduced the bill before this year's legislative session.

Law in 19 states

"Everyone recognized this is a very serious issue for our youth and this is a matter of life and death," Cathy Housh told 41 Action News.

Cathy Housh of Johnson County started pushing for the Jason Flatt Act on both sides of the state line after her teenage daughter, Cady, took her own life in 2014.

"What's it going to take to get the attention for Missouri?" Housh said.  "It's disappointing and I know we've tried to reach out to the Speaker Todd Richardson."

Bills on calendar

Speaker Richardson has put other bills on the calendar about suicide awareness in schools, but they don't require schools to train teachers like the Jason Flatt Act.

Now that the Speaker told us he'll put the bill on the Missouri House calendar, it'll go to the House floor for consideration.
"Having you here to shed a light on the importance of the Jason Flatt Act is vitally important to the legislative process," Dunn told us.
Housh hopes Missouri lawmakers don't wait any longer to help the roughly 100 students who end their lives every week.
"Won't they feel guilty, as they see the numbers, if they haven't done anything?" Housh said.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call them at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


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