Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s Legislative Update for the Week of Feb. 17, 2020

Legislative Actions and Information for the Week of Feb. 17, 2020

On the Floor

The Senate recently discussed the issue of gambling. Senate Bill 530 requires the Missouri Gaming Commission to establish a telephone contact number to receive reports on suspected illegal gambling activity. These reports would then have to be reported to the Missouri Highway Patrol for further investigation. If the Highway Patrol finds sufficient evidence of illegal gambling, it will refer the violation to the prosecuting attorney and notify the supervisor of Liquor Control. If found guilty of illegal gambling, the business will have their lottery game retailer license automatically and permanently revoked, and could also lose their liquor license.

Senator Nasheed believes the legislation is too harsh and that it could also negatively impact small business owners. By revoking a business’s licenses indefinitely, there is also no opportunity for a second chance. Without such an opportunity, these small business owners could lose their livelihoods. Senator Nasheed also believes the bill raises due process concerns, regarding who conducts investigations and how. Ultimately, SB 530 was not voted on by the Senate, as it was laid over with an amendment pending.

Another piece of legislation discussed in the Senate was Senate Bill 538, 562 and 601. This bill increases penalties for a variety of criminal offenses. Like similar pieces of tough-on-crime legislation that have been introduced this session, Sen. Nasheed opposes this bill. She does not believe we can truly reduce crime by simply keeping people behind bars for longer periods of time. This legislation also did not come up for a vote, and was laid over for future debate.

Bills and Committees

Senator Nasheed will be presenting two pieces of her sponsored legislation to the Senate’s Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday, Feb. 24.

Senate Bill 542 – This bill, also known as the “Missouri Restoration of Voting Rights Act,” would restore voting rights to individuals on probation or parole who have been convicted of a felony. Individuals convicted of a felony related to the right to vote would not have their voting rights restored under SB 542.

Senate Joint Resolution 61 – This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would prohibit any person on probation or parole after a conviction of a felony unrelated to voting from being denied the right to vote.


The Senate’s Appropriations Committee heard from the Missouri Department of Revenue this week. The department discussed the issue of outstanding tax refunds from the previous tax year. The Department says that prior to Jan. 1, 2020, it had 919 refund returns for the 2018 tax year still outstanding. These outstanding refunds total over $2.3 million. This is an issue the Appropriations Committee will continue to consider as the budget process moves forward.

Other News

Former Governor Accepts Fine for Campaign Violations

On Feb. 13, former Gov. Eric Greitens signed a consent order with the Missouri Ethics Commission in which he admitted his election committee committed two violations of state campaign finance law and agreed to a fine of $178,087. If Greitens pays $38,000 within 45 days and doesn’t commit any further violations over the next two years, the remainder of the fine will be stayed.

Governor Appoints Cape  Girardeau Judge to State Appellate Court

On Feb. 14, the governor appointed Circuit Judge Michael Gardner of Cape Girardeau to the St. Louis-based Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District. Gardner replaces Judge Lawrence Mooney, a 21-year court veteran who resigned in September after reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. Gardner was first elected as a judge in the 32nd Judicial Circuit in 2014. His six-year term was set to expire at the end of the year. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.

House Committee Hears Bills Eliminating Marriage

On Feb. 17, the House General Laws Committee held a public hearing on legislation that would eliminate marriage in Missouri and reclassify it as a “contract of domestic union.” House Bill 2173 is a 382-page bill that strips all references of marriage from state law. Other than the sponsor, no one testified in favor of the proposal, while several people testified in opposition.

State Medical Marijuana Officials Face Questioning

Members of a special House investigative committee questioned state health department officials for several hours on Feb. 19 over the agency’s process for determining what businesses were awarded one of the limited number of licenses issued for various aspects of Missouri’s new medical marijuana industry.

In November 2018, two-thirds of Missouri voters ratified a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for medical use and granted the state Department of Health and Senior Services the authority to regulate the cultivation, manufacture, dispensing, sale, testing and transportation of medical marijuana products. The department recently issued 338 licenses to either grow, process or distribute medical marijuana, but the licenses issued represent just a fraction of the applications submitted. The House Special Committee on Government Oversight is slated to conduct another hearing into the matter, which will be its third, on Feb. 26.