Sen. Norma Champion was put on the hotseat in today's Springfield News-Leader. Apparently a faulty memory keeps her from recalling how it was that Sen. Tim Green's legislation to improve safety measures for group homes never made it out of the Aging, Families, Mental and Public Health Committee last year. Ms. Champion is the chairman of that committee.
The committee's failure to move that legislation to the House floor, first noted in the Dec. 4 Turner Report, appears to be a grievous oversight in the wake of the Anderson Guest House fire in which 10 people died.
Tracy Swartz' article in today's News-Leader puts Ms. Champion on the record:
State Sen. Norma Champion, R-Springfield, who heads the committee, said lack of time probably prevented the committee from taking up the issue.
"I expect that will be something that we will be revisiting," said Champion, who likely will be reassigned to the mental health committee. "We'll be looking much more closely at all the facilities to make sure they'll be regulated properly."
Apparently, Ms. Champion's memory is not too sharp when it comes to legislation that could save lives.
It's a shame that it takes the deaths of 10 people for Ms. Champion and her committee to consider the plight of the mentally disabled worth addressing.