Sen. Karla May’s May Report for the Week of March 29, 2021

Women’s History Month

In celebration of Women’s History Month, I participated in a panel discussion held by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) – Kansas City Chapter on March 31.  The panel consisted of several prominent female leaders in the transportation industry, and we discussed our accomplishments as women in the transportation field, as well as the women who supported us along the way.

During the panel discussion, I had the chance to express my gratitude for not only the eight years I served in the Missouri House of Representatives, but also my time in the Senate. Over the years, I have served on numerous committees where I was given an opportunity to advocate for a wide range of issues, including transportation, but also the budget and other policies. Throughout my time in the State Capitol, I have been inspired by my mother and grandmother who both gave me the confidence and independence to accomplish my dreams. I firmly believe that it is because of these two strong women and their ability to make me feel like I could do anything I put my mind to that I am where I am today.

As I always have done, I advocated during the panel for the importance of providing young women a platform to achieve their goals. This is one of the reasons why I am always eager to provide interns and high school students the opportunity to job shadow me and learn about the legislative process. I believe every female has a drive that pushes us to advocate for what we believe in. It is this same drive that gives us the capability to accomplish great things. If not you, then who?

On the Floor

More bills are coming before the full Senate body, as we inch closer to the end of the 2021 legislative session. This week, the Senate discussed and debated a range of issues, including the establishment of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). This type of program helps to provide health care providers with information on a patient’s prescription drug history in the hopes of addressing overprescribing and detecting concerning trends involving addictive opioids. Currently, Missouri is the only state in the country without a statewide PDMP program, but Senate Bill 63 would erase that distinction. The legislation establishes a joint oversight taskforce, which will work with a third-party vendor to develop a PDMP for our state. It would also phase out the St. Louis County PDMP, which is active in many parts of the state. Senate Bill 63 was perfected by the body earlier in the week.

Another bill discussed this week was Senate Bill 301, regarding the forest management practice of prescribed burning, as well as property right-of-ways. During debate, an amendment to the bill was proposed allowing the Department of Natural Resources to purchase and maintain the Antioch Cemetery, a historic gravesite originally for freed Black slaves located in Clinton, Missouri. After some discussion on whether or not the state should be in charge of taking care of this site, SB 301 was laid over for future debate.

The members of the Senate also debated Senate Bill 333. This legislation prevents the state from imposing filing or reporting requirements on charitable organizations more stringent or restrictive than current requirements or those required by federal law. Part of the debate on this bill centered on whether this bill would protect so-called “dark money” donations, which use nonprofits to get around political spending disclosures.

In other legislative news, the Senate perfected legislation that expands tax credits for adoptions. Senate Bill 327 also includes several other provisions relating to adoption, parental rights, child placement, custody and visitation. The Senate also debated Senate Bill 120, an omnibus military affairs bill. Among its numerous provisions, the bill creates the Missouri Department of the National Guard, contingent upon voter approval.

Bills and Committees

Senator May’s Legislation:

My legislation keeps moving through the Senate. This past week, my Senate Bill 323, which allows school districts to offer elective social studies courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, as well as my Senate Bill 317, regarding the suspension of certain licenses for not complying with a child support order, have both moved out of committee and have now reached the Senate floor. Hoping to join SB 323 and SB 317 on the floor in the near future are several other of my other bills recently approved by Senate committees:

  • Senate Bill 488 creates the Economic Distress Zone Fund as well as the 988 Public Safety Fund, which will fund counseling and support services for law enforcement agencies.
  • Senate Bill 551 establishes the “Critical Incident Stress Management Program” and an accompanying fund to support law enforcement officers dealing with stress and trauma stemming from incidents while on the job.
  • Senate Bill 610 designates March 26 of each year as “Pioneering Black Women’s Day” in honor of Gwen B. Giles, the first Black woman to serve in the Missouri Senate.

I also presented Senate Bill 460, which creates the Community Investment Corporation Development Commission within the Department of Revenue, to the Senate’s Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee.

Judiciary Committee:

Four bills were presented in the Senate’s Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee this week:

  • Senate Bill 415 modifies provisions relating to orders of protection.
  • Senate Bill 440 modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention.
  • House Bill 59 establishes provisions to protect personal information of active and retired first responders.
  • House Bill 548 establishes provisions relating to the admissibility of certain witness statements.

Commerce Committee:

The Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee discussed three bills this week:

  • Senate Bill 559 modifies provisions relating to the public right-of-way.
  • Senate Bill 379 modifies provisions relating to the taxation of property associated with the production of energy.
  • Senate Bill 172 modifies the civil penalty for violating federally mandated natural gas safety standards.

Rules Committee:

The Rules Committee heard two resolutions this week:

  • Senate Joint Resolution 28 is a proposed constitutional amendment, which, if approved by voters, prohibits any increase in compensation for certain statewide elected officials, members of the General Assembly and judges beyond the two-year period in which a schedule issued by the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials is effective.
  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 8 calls for a national constitutional convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution placing limits on the federal government.

Other News

COVID-19 Update:

As of April 1, 2021, the Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard reports an average of 306 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week.

As of March 31, the City of St. Louis Health Department has reported a total of 20,626 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City of St. Louis.