Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s 2016 End of Session Report

Nasheed - Banner - End of Session - 2016-new

Dear St. Louis,

As the 2016 session of the Missouri Legislature comes to a close, permit me to reflect on the past four years that I’ve spent as the Senator for the 5th District.

When I was elected in the fall of 2012, I promised that I would represent the constituents of the district and the City effectively, passionately, and with integrity.  Listed below are some of my accomplishments, which I think show that I have kept my promise.

It has been my great honor and privilege to serve you as a first-term senator. I thank you for your trust and the tremendous support you have given me.  And I promise that my service to our community will only grow and never cease.

During my first session in the Missouri Senate, I worked hard to pass Senate Bill 125. This bill, established in statute the “St. Louis Plan,” a plan jointly agreed to by the teachers’ union and the school board administration, which establishes a more streamlined process for dismissing ineffective teachers. Passage of this legislation has ensured that all Missouri students have the right to high quality teachers. I think it is fitting that the very same day Senate Bill 125 was passed, Malcolm X was first given recognition in the Missouri Capitol.

I am also very proud to say that in 2014, we succeeded in passing Senate Bill 532, which allows relative caregivers to consent to medical treatment and make education decisions for a child in their care. With so many extended family caregivers in our community, this bill allows them to avoid the lengthy court process to become a full legal guardian.

In 2014, I also passed Senate Bill 731. This legislation changed the nuisance law to give community organizations a major legal tool to fight blighted and abandoned properties that are an eyesore, spur crime, and ruin property values.

I am proud to say in 2015, I was able to help pass legislation that added to the number of degree programs offered at Harris Stowe University.  I am very proud of the passage of Senate Bill 334.

In 2015, there are five pieces of legislation that continue to stand out in my memory. These bills not only impact Missourians now, but will continue to do so for years to come.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, designated January as Sex Trafficking Awareness Month. This tragedy is all too common throughout the United States. Missouri is no exception. By designating January as Sex Trafficking Awareness Month, there will be more opportunity to spread awareness and resources to help combat this epidemic.

November is now PICA Awareness month, thanks to the successful passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 2. PICA is an eating disorder characterized by a desire to eat substances other than food. Those people suffering from this condition face challenges in finding treatment. This awareness month helps to shed the light on their struggles and need for services.

Senate Bill 166, is another piece of legislation I passed in 2015. This legislation created the “Dare to Dream” Missouri license plate. Senate Bill 156 is another of which I am very proud. Because of this legislation, a part of State Highway 115 in St. Louis City – from the intersection of Natural Bridge Avenue and Salisbury Street west to the intersection of State Highway 115 and Jennings Station Road – is designated as the “Theodore McNeal Highway.” Senator McNeal was the first African-American Senator in the state of Missouri. I am grateful to be able to honor a man who has done so much for so many of us.

The 2016 Legislative Session was also filled with proud and important moments. I have worked for years to pass “Ban the Box,” legislation referring to the check box on many employment applications that asks whether the applicant has a criminal record. After weeks of correspondence with the governor, he issued Executive Order 16-04, ending this decades old practice.

During the final days of the 2016 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 588 was finally passed. This legislation was a joint effort with several other lawmakers. I spent 10 years working on an Expungement law like Senate Bill 588. This legislation allows residents of Missouri to petition to have their record expunged after a given period of time. My language ensured that convictions for non-violent offenses like drug possession and prostitution were included in the list of offenses that could be expunged. I see my Expungement legislation as an economic development bill. Individuals who have paid their debt to society deserve a second chance to uplift themselves and contribute to their communities.

Senate Bill 833 is legislation authorizing credit unions and other financial institutions in Missouri to offer savings promotion programs. The Missouri Savings Promotion Act offers participants chances to win prizes if they make a minimum deposit into an eligible account.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 50, establishes Suicide Prevention Month. This resolution will establish an awareness month in Missouri. Suicide touches so many of us. Yet, it is so rarely discussed. This resolution will help to bring the issue out of the shadows.

House Bill 2332 is legislation that was drafted to “clean-up” Missouri’s criminal code. However, I saw it as an opportunity to use the recommendation of the Ferguson Commission, regarding deadly force. With bipartisan efforts, this legislation changes the standards for police to use deadly force, in compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The General Assembly is required by the Missouri Constitution to submit a balanced budget each year. The budget process is a long one, which takes most of the legislative session to complete each year. As the state’s budget has become tighter and funding harder to come by for some groups it is even more of a struggle to ensure every program has sufficient funding.

I am proud to say during my time in the Senate I have seen and have been able to help ensure the funding for those programs that do the most good for our citizens.

In 2014, the math and science tutoring program received $400,000 in funding, an additional $600,000 from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) also went to help fund the much needed math and science tutoring program. While funding education is important, so is funding tutoring programs to help support children. We help demonstrate the importance of education when we focus on helping students reach their full potential throughout a student’s entire educational career.

In 2015, I was appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. While this committee requires a lot of hard work and time, it is one of the areas I feel I can have the most impact. During my first year on the committee, I am glad to say, the budget included $200,000 for the St. Louis Intradistrict Transportation; $300,000 for math and science tutoring program; $1,000,000 in drop-out prevention; and $750,000 for a prison re-entry program. This is a total of $2,250,000.

This year we spent months working on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, and were able to get it passed before the constitutionally mandated deadline. This year the governor vetoed none of the spending the General Assembly had laid out in the budget that was sent to his desk. For Fiscal Year 2017, $150,000 goes to math and science tutoring program; $450,000 for college bound; $500,000 for Harris Stowe University graduate programs; $750,000 for upgrades to the STEM laboratories at Harris-Stowe University and $100,000 for job apprenticeship programs. This is just a small part of the $27.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2017.

Finally, I want to thank the many constituents, organizations and others who communicated their concerns, ideas, positions and thoughts with my office during the legislative session. I particularly want to thank the many of you who journeyed to Jefferson City to personally express and advocate your feelings and beliefs. Your presence in the Capitol is effective. It truly makes a difference. Seeing and feeling first hand your spirit of determination to make our community better inspires me to remain ever true and committed to my pledge to be “The Voice of the Voiceless.”

My heart beats for my city. With every heartbeat, and every breath, I will always fight for you.


Senator Jamilah Nasheed
5th District – City of St. Louis