Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for Feb. 4, 2021
Legislation Progresses in the Senate
Terri Guillemets’ observation, “February is the border between winter and spring,” resonated at the Capitol this week. In a way, session is still in its winter stage with new bills being introduced and gubernatorial appointments being made. At the same time, it feels like the pace resembles the spring’s frantic final month of a legislative session.
The race was on this week as I introduced two new bills, worked with my colleagues to perfect COVID-19 liability legislation, listened to testimony of the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee hearing and presented four of my bills to committees. Senate Bill 212 updates the roles and responsibilities for the staff within the Department of Corrections and Parole Board, the two entities that were restructured by legislation in 2018. The marathon continued on Feb. 3 as I presented three bills in different committees. Senate Bill 44 makes some needed changes to water and sewer infrastructure, Senate Bill 43 requires health benefit plans to include at least the minimum coverage provided by MO HealthNet and Senate Bill 258 classifies members of the Missouri National Guard as state employees for the purposes of operating state owned vehicles and conducting official state business. I hope I have enough energy left to cheer on the Chiefs this weekend!
Senator White speaks with Missouri National Guard’s Adjutant General, Levon Cumpton, following his testimony in support of SB 258.
Senator White meets with Matthew Barnhart, the senior operations manager for the Southwest Division of American Water, who came to testify in support of SB 44.
Senator White and Luke Abeln pose for a picture after the committee hearing on SB 43.
Mass Vaccinations are Underway
The National Guard is assisting with vaccinations throughout the state. To find a location or an approved vaccinator, visit Covidvaccine.mo.gov/events.
Office of Childhood Streamlines Services for Kids
Services for early childhood care and education have merged from three separate state departments into a newly created Office of Childhood. This comprehensive transition will combine existing programs and enhance services for children and families by keeping child care, home visits, early learning and interventions housed under one roof within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
February is Black History Month
As our country celebrates Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment and encourage everyone in our community to visit the George Washington Carver National Monument. Established in 1943, this monument marks the birthplace and childhood home of the famed scientist, educator and humanitarian. The park presents a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the world-renowned “Plant Doctor” and his many contributions to our country. I encourage everyone to visit the park and learn more about the man whose life not only inspired countless Black Americans, but served as an enduring example of kindness, perseverance and courage for all.
Federal Tax Credits and Filing Assistance Available for Small Businesses
Last year’s CARES Act offered several programs to help business owners and employees cope with the ancillary effects of the virus. Now that tax filing season is upon us, be sure to take advantage of the assistance the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering at Covid-sb.org.
Online Bicentennial Resources Available
In six months, Missourians will celebrate the bicentennial of Missouri’s statehood, but projects and events are already ramping up to honor our “Past.Present.Future.” The website, Missouri2021.org, is a one-stop shop for all things related to this special milestone, and I encourage you to submit items to represent our counties on the site’s interactive map.
Our bicentennial has also garnered some national attention from the United States Postal Service. Charles Gurche’s photograph of the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site in Cape Girardeau County is now available on a commemorative stamp to honor our statehood and capture its unique history.