Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s Legislative Update for the Week Ending Jan. 29, 2016

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With the completion of the third full week of the Second Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly, legislation is moving quickly through both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly.

Senator Jamilah Nasheed’s first Sex Trafficking Awareness Month Rally on Tuesday drew an impressive cast of orators. Among them, Christine McDonald, who gave a gripping first-hand account, both as a survivor and as the program director for the Restoration House of Greater Kansas City. Having worked in both Kansas City and St. Louis, her input was well-credentialed and imparted a deeper understanding about the scope of this devastating problem.

The rally attracted over 200 visitors from more than 30 different organizations across the state and culminated with a Call-to-Action Ceremony in the first floor Rotunda. Senator Nasheed closed the ceremony with a rousing speech, declaring, “sex-trafficking is an attack on our children and our neighborhoods, and the fight doesn’t end here. Awareness is only the beginning.”

On Thursday morning, the controversial proposal to abolish the St. Louis City Earnings Tax was passed through the Senate Ways and Means Committee. If passed, Senate Bill 575 would deprive the city budget of approximately $185 million, close to half the city’s budget. “This bill proposes to detract from our ability to pay our firefighters and police officers and would make our city a more dangerous place,” Sen. Nasheed said. “The people of St. Louis voted overwhelmingly in favor of the earnings tax because they know that it’s what is needed. My constituents should know that I will fight to protect their will, and our city.”


On the floor this week, Senate Bill 765 was perfected by the full Senate. This legislation would prohibit cities from using ticketing quota systems. These discriminatory policies have been used by some municipalities to bolster city revenue. Senator Nasheed, co-sponsor of the bill, identified a loophole in the legislation’s wording that would still allow for quotas to still be used in certain scenarios. Taking a decisive stand against underhanded, back-door politics, Sen. Nasheed said, “Senate Bill 765 is a great piece of legislation to prevent cities from setting ticket quotas. I identified a remaining loophole, in that traffic enforcement employees could still have quotas.” Senator Nasheed was able to close the loophole in the Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 765. The new language will effectively prohibit all quota systems statewide, without exception.



With the legislative session only in its third week, Sen. Nasheed has already had three of her bills heard in committee. Among her top legislative priorities this session:

  • Senate Bill 627 – Suicide Prevention – would require public colleges and universities to develop and implement policies to advise students and staff on suicide prevention programs available on campus or elsewhere. This bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Senator Nasheed organized a well-received cadre of witnesses in support of the bill: James Smith, with the Lincoln University Counseling Services Center; Melody Seiger and Linda Fehrman, with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Senate Bill 833 – Missouri Savings Promotion Act – would authorize banks and credit unions to incentivize savings by automatically entering their customers into a raffle when they deposit a certain amount of money into their savings accounts. The hearing for Senate Bill 833 took place on Monday, Jan. 25, in the Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee. In the hearing, both credit unions and banks testified in support of the legislation alongside Sen. Nasheed. During her testimony, Sen. Nasheed said that “the purpose of this bill is to target unbanked individuals and incentivize them to save.”
  • Senate Bill 942 – Expungement of Criminal Records – would allow any person convicted of prostitution, a drug crime not involving a weapon, an offense of criminal nonsupport, and most municipal ordinance violations and misdemeanors to file a petition for expungement of one or more offenses. The hearing took place on Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Former Missouri State Representative Jeanette Mott-Oxford and Barbara Baker, a community leader with the Center for Women in Transition, came to testify in favor of the bill.

Senator Nasheed also has three bills that are scheduled to be heard:

  • Senate Bill 628 – Body-Worn Cameras – Senator Nasheed announced this week that she had secured a hearing date for her police body-worn cameras bill. Senate Bill 628 would require Missouri’s largest law enforcement agencies to equip their officers with body worn-cameras when interacting with the public.
    “This hearing is an extremely important first step toward making this bill a reality,” Sen. Nasheed said. “Now more than ever before, we need to focus on repairing the relationship between communities and police. Body cameras will help to do that by cutting down on both police use of excessive force and frivolous complaints against officers,” she continued. It has been referred to the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee. The public hearing will be conducted on Feb. 17.


This week saw the start of Senate Appropriations Committee hearings.  Hearings were held Monday and Tuesday of this week, with a full schedule already on the hearings calendar for next week.

The first hearing was an overview of the governor’s proposed budget.  Released literally during his state of the state address, this hearing is the first opportunity to review the plan in its entirety.  The most important take away was that the Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE) still shows Missouri growing economically after The Great Recession.

The CRE increase for FY 2017 is 4.1 percent, a very healthy rate of economic growth.  The revised CRE for FY 2016 is 2.8 percent, which is less than anticipated but should hopefully not trigger any budget withholds.

The second hearing was for public testimony.  Due to the size and scope of the budget, the Appropriations Committee has historically taken public testimony at the beginning of the process.  This allows private citizens and lobbyists equal footing to make their case before the appropriations committee at one hearing, instead of asking them to track specific line items and tie it to one of 20 plus budget hearings.

And lastly for this week in appropriations, all budget bills were filed in the House on Wednesday of this week.  See HB 2001-2013.



On Jan. 27, the House of Representatives voted 147-12 to send legislation to the Senate that would prohibit lawmakers from accepting most meals or gifts from registered lobbyists. The measure, House Bill 2166, is one of several modest ethics reforms the House has approved during the opening weeks of the 2016 legislative session.

Missouri is the only state that allows lawmakers to accept both unlimited lobbyist gifts and unlimited campaign contributions. While eliminating lobbyist gifts enjoys widespread bipartisan support, the minority party argued that the greater potential for corruption lies not with lobbyist-provided meals or concert tickets, but with large campaign contributions of $50,000, $100,000 or even $1 million. The majority party, however, has refused to consider reinstating campaign contribution limits, which Missouri voters originally imposed in 1994, but that the GOP-controlled legislature repealed in 2008.


Another highlight this week was Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge who crossed the street to the Capitol Building on Wednesday to deliver her first State of the Judiciary Address. Justice Breckenridge stated, “Let me be clear, we are committed to ensuring every individual, in every case in our system of justice, is treated with respect and every case is adjudicated fairly and impartially under the law.”

Chief Justice Breckenridge also announced during the address that state judges will be required to participate in implicit bias training this year in an effort to minimize prejudicial treatment of racial and ethnic minorities in the judicial system. Breckenridge made her comments during the annual State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the General Assembly.

“The Supreme Court realizes it is critical for those of us who sit in judgment of to be aware of any bias, implicit or otherwise, that might unknowingly affect our decisions,” Breckenridge said.

The chief justice also highlighted other recent steps the court has taken to address racial disparities in the administration of justice and eliminate abusive municipal court practices. On the latter point, Breckenridge said a report the court ordered recommending municipal court reforms is expected by March 1.