Sen. Bill White’s Capitol Report for Jan. 20, 2022

Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for Jan. 20, 2022

Honoring MLK

Our nation began the week by honoring the legendary civil rights activist and preacher, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and although Dr. King wouldn’t live to see his dream come true, he made great strides to restore hope and help remove barriers for Black Americans.

Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Holds First Hearing

I truly enjoy public hearings because they are the meat and potatoes of the legislative process. Not only do they provide an opportunity for citizens to share their opinions on bills, they give legislators the chance to ask questions and better understand the scope of the proposals. On Jan. 19, the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee heard two bills to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to one year. Senate Bills 639 and 698 aim to reduce our state’s high maternal mortality rates, while enhancing the continuum of care and services for our state’s low-income women and families. These bills follow the recommendations outlined by the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection and align with the federal American Rescue Plan.

The committee also heard Senate Bill 667, a proposal to prohibit the federal government from infringing on the state’s right to restrict funding for abortion facilities or their affiliates and associates. The act also grants the Department of Social Services the authority to suspend, revoke or not approve contracts and agreements with providers under certain conditions.

The final bill we heard was the proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 35, which creates the Department of the National Guard within the executive branch. If approved by voters, the adjutant general will become a cabinet-level position.

Supreme Court Honors Legislators

On Jan. 18, I was humbled to be one of the senators honored by the Missouri Supreme Court and the Judicial Conference of Missouri, an organization of state judges, in recognition of our efforts to advance and administer justice in our great state.

Patricia Churchill, from the Missouri Supreme Court, congratulates Sen. White for helping to advance justice in our state.

Free and Fair Discussion

To learn more about the Senate’s customs and decorum, read my essay, Firmest Friend to Truth. It discusses why and how we respectfully conduct conversations in the upper chamber.

Governor Delivers State of the State Address in House Chamber

On Jan. 19, the governor outlined his priorities for 2022 in a joint session with legislators and state department leaders. During his State of the State Address, he urged lawmakers to support cost-of-living raises for state employees, continued support for workforce development, base pay increases for teachers, funding for broadband expansion and additional resources for mental health providers and law enforcement officials. He also lauded Missourians for our dedication to faith, family and neighbors helping neighbors.

Bidding Farewell to Crowder College President

On Jan. 14, I was honored to present a resolution to Crowder College’s president of three years, Dr. Glenn Coltharp, who retired from a 40-year career in the field of education. During his presidency, Dr. Coltharp successfully navigated the college through a tumultuous ransomware attack and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other accomplishments.

Senator White and Rep. Kelley present resolutions to congratulate Dr. Coltharp on his retirement.

Students from Carthage Technical Center Invited to State of the State Address

The governor invited medical students from Carthage’s South Tech Center to meet with him and the first lady before his State of the State Address on Jan. 19. In his annual speech, he stressed the importance of higher education and technical schools to Missouri’s future.

Carly Simpson, Sen. White, Olivia Bourgault and Danny Darland speak briefly before their meeting with the governor.

Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Services Hosts Annual Advocacy Day

Members of the Missouri Association of Rehabilitation Services gathered at the Capitol for their annual advocacy day on Jan. 19. I enjoyed speaking with the staff from Community Support Services of Joplin and learning more about their issues and challenges. Since 1978, this organization has worked to foster and promote independence, personal growth and a healthy quality of life for its clients.

Senator White, Jhan Hurn and Gus Epple discuss some of the issues affecting community support services.

A few members of the staff from the Joplin Division of Arc of the Ozarks were also in Jefferson City for the event. The Arc’s vision is to empower children, youth and adults with disabilities to achieve fulfilling lives, make independent decisions and participate in the community.

Karen Burnell, Alisa Lowry, Sen. White and Mike Powers visit about Arc of the Ozarks.