Sen. Karla May’s “May Report” for the Week of Jan. 31, 2022

On the Floor

The threat of a major winter storm across the state led the General Assembly to meet for a shortened week. Many Senate committee hearings scheduled later in the week were cancelled, as was the time planned on the Senate floor. That said, the Senate still managed to approve a number of gubernatorial appointments to various state boards and commissions, with a notable exception being the governor’s pick to serve as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

Acting DHSS Director Donald Kauerauf faced opposition from a number of senators who had concerns about his stances on COVID-19 vaccines as well as mask mandates. While in the Senate’s Gubernatorial Committee this week, Kauerauf repeated his opposition to vaccine and mask mandates, preferring to let data and accurate information help individuals and local governments make the best choices for themselves. Despite his testimony, Kauerauf continued to face opposition. Ultimately, the committee did not take a vote on his nomination. Because the Missouri Constitution requires appointments made when the Legislature isn’t in session to be approved by the Senate within 30 days of it convening, without the Senate’s approval, Kauerauf will now be banned from serving as DHSS director.

Bills and Committees

Appropriations Committee:

The Senate’s Appropriations Committee continued reviewing the governor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2022. This week, we heard from the Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Conservation about their budgetary needs. Hearings with other state departments were cancelled due to inclement weather.

Judiciary Committee:

The Senate’s Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard three bills on Jan. 31:

  • Senate Bill 831 creates the offense of tampering with or damaging a teller machine, otherwise known as an ATM.
  • Senate Bill 833 modifies provisions relating to business covenants.
  • Senate Bill 883 modifies provisions relating to the procurement of bonds or insurance policies from the State Legal Expense Fund.