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Partisan Fight over Child Care

March 1, 1999
By: Jennifer Lutz
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 490

JEFFERSON CITY - Legislation to create a toll-free phone line for background checks of child and elderly care providers, ran into GOP opposition in the Missouri House Monday.

Rep. Katherine Hollingsworth, D-Imperial, sponsored a bill to require child and elderly care employees to register their information into a state-wide data base. Prospective employers could call the number to access information about the prospective employee.

Republican lawmakers argued to exempt religious day care organizations from having to register their employees. However, House Democrats rejected two separate amendment to exempt religious day care centers from the bill.

"It doesn't matter where are children are at," Hollingsworth said. "All families need to know who is taking care of their children."

But some Republicans disagreed.

"This is a hard occupation to get workers into," said Pat Kelley, R-Lee's Summit. "Some people don't want to be a part of the registry."

Kelley said the requirement would lead more people away from becoming involved in child care.

The House adjourned for the day before getting to a final vote on the proposal.