|Week of May 17, 2021|
After four and a half months of policy discussions and debates, the 2021 legislative session came to a close on May 14. Over the past several months, we were able to move some important pieces of legislation forward and send them to the governor’s desk. For instance, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 189, which creates a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum specialty license plate. I was proud to sponsor this legislation honoring the Kansas City museum and the work it does to preserve and celebrate the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.
The General Assembly also passed House Bill 432, which includes my Senate Bill 441. This legislation establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force, which will study food insecurity in our state. My hope is this taskforce will be able to determine barriers to Missourians accessing healthy foods and how best to remove them.
Additionally, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 53 & 60, which lifts the residency requirement for Kansas City police officers, among other provisions. I heard from many of my constituents about this legislation and opposed it as it moved through the Legislature. Like many of you, I believe our community is better served when our law enforcement officers patrol a community that they themselves are a part of. While I ultimately could not vote in support of the bill due to the residency issue, I do believe there are several positive reforms in the legislation, particularly when it comes to juvenile justice. For example, the bill ensures we stay in compliance with federal regulations relating to juvenile detention. It also contains clarifying language ensuring 17-year-olds stay in the juvenile justice system rather than be moved to the adult justice system.
The Budget and Medicaid Expansion
On May 13, the governor signed a $2.1 billion supplemental budget for the current fiscal year. This budget, largely comprised of federal dollars, contains funding for several items, including the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, the Pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Coronavirus Local Government Fiscal Recovery Fund, as well as several other COVID assistance programs.
Meanwhile, the Missouri General Assembly recently approved a more than $35 billion state operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins on July 1. While the budget provides resources for a variety of state departments, agencies and services, it most notably fails to include additional funding for the expansion of Medicaid, which Missouri voters approved in August 2020. Due to the Legislature’s failure to provide this funding, on May 13, the governor announced he was formally withdrawing plans to expand MO HealthNet, the state’s Medicaid program. This action will prevent Missourians who would have been eligible under expansion from accessing MO HealthNet services. I believe a court challenge on this action is likely.
Also relating to Medicaid funding, the Missouri General Assembly failed to extend Missouri’s federal reimbursement allowances (FRA) program. The FRA is an important funding mechanism for MO HealthNet that allows the state to draw down federal dollars to support the program and is set to expire in September of this year. Without extending the FRA, Missouri could lose more than $1 billion annually in support for MO HealthNet. That said, lawmakers will likely be called back to the Capitol by the governor to address this issue in an extra session.
Ultimately, I believe the General Assembly’s unwillingness to fund our Medicaid program will only end up costing us more resources in the long run, as well as needlessly jeopardize low-income Missourians’ ability to access vital health care services.
Mammogram Screening Events
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will be hosting two 3D mammogram mobile screening events in our community. The first event will be held on Friday, May 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the New Bethel Church, 745 Walker Ave., Kansas City, KS 66101. A second screening event is scheduled for Saturday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kansas City Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave., Kansas City, MO 64108. Individuals are eligible for a free digital mammogram screening if they do not have insurance, are at least 40 years of age, have not had a previous mammogram in the past year or have no current breast symptoms or complaints. You can register online by visiting the Alpha Kappa Alpha Beta Omega Chapter’s website or by calling 888-233-6121.
Each week I will provide updates on COVID-19 information. As of April 9, all adult Missouri residents are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of occupation. Please contact your local pharmacy or health care provider for information on how best to receive one of the available vaccines. For more information about Missouri’s vaccine distribution plan, please visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.
Vaccinations are already underway in our community. For instance, COVID-19 vaccine walk-in appointments are now available at Truman Medical Centers’ two hospital campuses (2211 Charlotte and 7900 Lee’s Summit Road), 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition, you can schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting the hospital’s website or by calling 816-404-CARE.
The Jackson County Health Department also has same-day appointments available. See jacohd.org/events. For COVID-19 testing locations, please visit jacksongov.org/1190/COVID-19-Test-Sites. Pre-Registration is strongly encouraged. In addition, those who are symptomatic are encouraged to call 404-CARE, option 2, to schedule a drive through test at one of Truman Medical Centers’ two hospitals.
Additionally, Spalittos’ Pharmacy located at 3801 Independence Ave., Kansas City, MO 64124, is also providing COVID-19 vaccinations. Currently, Spalittos’ Pharmacy has vaccine appointments throughout the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. There are specific times reserved for vaccine appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. To register for a COVID-19 vaccine, call 816-231-4717 or visit the pharmacy’s website.
Thank you for your vote of confidence to serve the people of the 9th District in the Missouri Senate. In an effort to keep you up-to-date with my legislation or other proposed legislation, please feel free to visit my website at senate.mo.gov/Washington. I appreciate your active interest in your community and encourage your participation in the legislative process. Should you need assistance with state matters, please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-3158.
|Senate Bill 82||Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert||Voted Do Pass by Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 83||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Second read and referred to Senate Education Committee|
|Senate Bill 84||Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes||Hearing Conducted in Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 145||Creates new provisions of law relating to discriminatory practices||Voted Do Pass by Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 146||Modifies provisions relating to landlord- tenant actions||Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 147||Modifies provisions relating to tax increment financing||Second read and referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 189||Creates a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum special license plate||Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed|
|Senate Bill 190||Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 191||Creates new provisions relating to the counting of inmates for the purpose of redistricting||Second read and referred to Select Committee on Redistricting|
|Senate Bill 357||Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters||Hearing Conducted by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee|
|Senate Bill 419||Relating to use of force by law enforcement officers||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 420||Relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies||Second read and referred to Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee|
|Senate Bill 434||Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media||Senate Informal Calendar for Senate Bills for Perfection|
|Senate Bill 440||Modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention||Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 441||Establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force||Voted Do Pass by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee|
|Senate Bill 446||Modifies provisions relating to the certification of juveniles for trial as an adult||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 509||Creates and modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records.||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 542||Creates new provisions relating to the recovery of employment security benefits.||Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee|
|Senate Bill 543||Establishes standards for demographic data collection by certain entities.||Hearing Conducted by Senate Health and Pensions Committee|
|Senate Joint Resolution 17||Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties||Second read and referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee|
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