State Rep. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, is hoping the third time will be the charm in his efforts to ban synthetic urine sales in Franklin County and the entire state of Missouri.
Tate told The Missourian he plans to prefile bills banning synthetic urine sales, promoting celiac disease awareness and honoring law enforcement.
All of these bills have been filed by Tate in the past and he hopes they will finally make it through the lengthy legislative process this year.
In fact, this is the third session in which Tate has filed a bill to ban synthetic urine products from being sold.
In both 2018 and 2019, Tate’s bills called for an all-out ban of drug test-cheating products, and if passed would have amended state statutes by adding a section relating to the offense of falsifying a drug test, with penalty provisions.
The bill language stated a person commits the offense of falsifying a drug test if the person knowingly or intentionally distributes, offers for sale, sells, delivers or finances the delivery of an adulterant or synthetic urine with the intent to defraud or assist an individual in defrauding an alcohol, drug, or urine screening test.
If the bill had passed, the crime of falsifying a drug test would be equivalent to being arrested for DWI and carry the same penalties.
In the summer of 2017, The Missourian investigated a tip of the drug-masking product being sold in stores in Franklin County.
Later that year, Tate had identified at least 17 locations the items were available.
The products are not illegal, and if used correctly, can allow persons with drugs in their system to come back with negative results.
At a store in Washington, a 3-ounce supply of synthetic urine costs about $20 and a 2-ounce bottle of special shampoo designed to remove “toxins” from the hair costs about $15, The Missourian investigation revealed.
The fake urine and shampoo are usually kept behind the counters of stores or in a display case with other detox kits and elixirs designed to flush remnants of drugs out of the human body.
Hand warmers also are included in the urine kits to warm the liquid to body temperature before it is used.
Synthetic urine will pass the lab testing, and the main reason people are caught is because of the temperature of the liquid, which sensors on testing cups tell right away.
Excuses are often given that it is a hot or cold day or the person being tested just had a cold soda or hot cup of coffee.
Directions on the packaging instruct the user to attach the heat pad with the enclosed rubber band and it will remain at the optimal 94 to 100 degrees up to eight hours.
When hair is being tested, users of the detox shampoo are generally easy to identify as well, most commonly by sores on the scalp caused by excessive bleaching.
Because of the introduction of hair and urine cheat kits, testing facilities are taking samples from other sources like fingernails and toenails.
Since the products are legal and technically marketed as fetish items, there is no legal action that can be taken against someone using the masking products.
The circumstances would change if the drug test was court ordered, but even then there wouldn’t be a new charge. Instead, the court would revoke parole or probation.
Additional bills sponsored by Tate which will be repeated this session would designate the second Wednesday in May as “Celiac Awareness Day,” and another would designate the first Friday in May each year as “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.”
Tate said there are a few other issues he may file legislation on during the session that runs from the beginning of January 2020 to May.
This summer one of the few bills Gov. Mike Parson vetoed on July 12 included a measure from one of Tate’s that was tacked on to a Senate bill in the closing hours of the session back in May.
Senate Bill 147 would have established a “Towing Task Force” for commercial motor vehicle tows.
This task force would make recommendations on overcharges, customer complaints and the process for nonconsensual towing used by law enforcement.
In his veto message, Parson explained why he rejected the towing measure.
“The attorney general’s office has a system in place to handle such complaints, which is managed by the Consumer Complaint Division,” Parson explained. “As I believe adequate protection already exists to address these matters, I cannot support the establishment of a redundant task force.