Sen. Bill White’s Capitol Report for Jan. 28, 2022

Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for Jan. 28, 2022

Closing the Opening Month

We closed the last full week of the opening month of session with some productive committee hearings, one of which sent the House and Senate bills for congressional redistricting to the Senate floor for consideration. Congressional districts contain approximately 750,000 people, adhere to the Voting Rights Act and are intended to be as contiguous and compact as possible to keep communities, cities and counties intact. The proposed map outlined in Senate Bill 663 and House Bill 2117 make a few, minor changes to southwest Missouri’s District 7, adding Webster County in its entirety and removing the eastern portion of Taney County.

On Jan. 26, the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee heard three bills, one of which was Senate Joint Resolution 40. If passed by the Legislature and approved by voters, SRJ 40 will exempt all veterans with a total service-connected disability from paying personal property taxes. Currently only those who were prisoners of war and deemed totally disabled qualify for the exemption. Due to the late start of the hearing, the committee will continue to hear testimony on these proposals next week.

Additionally, this committee unanimously voted to “do pass” Senate Bills 698 and 639 to extend Medicaid coverage to postpartum women to one year. We also advanced Senate Bill 667 and Senate Joint Resolution 35 with a do pass vote. Senate Bill 667 better equips the Department of Social Services to restrict and handle contracts with abortion providers and their affiliates, and SJR 35 creates the Missouri Department National Guard, pending voter approval.

Economic Security Corporation Releases Annual Report

On Jan. 20, Ryan Peterson, the weatherization director for the Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area in Joplin, presented my legislative assistant with a copy of its 2021 annual report. With the motto of “Helping People. Changing Lives,” this agency provides assistance with early education, housing, weatherization, winter utilities and home repairs. Call 417-781-0352 for more information or assistance.

Gina Richardson accepts the annual report from Ryan Peterson.

Club for Growth Announces Perfect Vote and Attendance Scores

On Jan. 27, I was notified by the Club for Growth Foundation that I am one of six senators who received a perfect attendance for voting on every piece of legislation brought before the Senate in 2021. I plan to do the same in 2022!

Annual Rally for Veteran Advocates

On Jan. 25, the Missouri Association of Veteran Organizations (MAVO) held its annual rally at the Capitol to “step up for Missouri veterans” and to advocate for fully funding the Missouri Veterans Commission. Understaffing and underfunding of our state’s veterans homes has recently forced these facilities to turn veterans away from care. Association members urged lawmakers to support House Joint Resolution 87, which if passed and approved by voters, would equally divide the proceeds from our state’s gaming revenues between education and the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Veterans of Foreign Wars members, Troy Williams and Charles Dickinson, join Sen. White and American Legion State Commander Gary Grigsby following the MAVO rally in the Rotunda.

Be Prepared for the Road Ahead

February tends to be one of the most hazardous months for inclement weather and unsafe road conditions. Be sure to check MODOT’s interactive weather map for the remainder of winter to check for covered, partly covered, closed or cleared roads.

Main Street Comes to West Capitol Avenue

I enjoyed visiting with several members of our community who were in Jefferson City for the annual Missouri Main Street Connection Day. This organization utilizes a four-point approach to preserve a community’s historical and unique heritage, while revitalizing its economic base.

Senator White joins Downtown Joplin Alliance members, Daya Davenport and Lori Haun.

Thomas Booker visits with Abi Almandinger, the executive director of Vision Carthage.

Welcoming Students and Educators to the Capitol

On Jan 26, Dr. Phillip Cook, the superintendent of Carl Junction R-1 School District, stopped by my Capitol office and shared some important information about the challenges facing the district. As session continues to unfold, I look forward to working with Dr. Cook and the other educators in our community to make sure our public schools have the resources they need to continue to provide a world-class education to our students.

Superintendent Phil Cook explains the current events happening in the Carl Junction School District.

Congratulations to East Newton High School student Haileigh Jordan. She was in Jefferson City on Jan. 26 to job shadow Sen. Eslinger and learn some of the inter-workings of the Missouri Senate.

Senator Eslinger, her job shadow for the day, Haileigh Jordan and Sen. White visit while she learns about the Senate.

To celebrate National School Choice Week, Missouri advocates hosted their annual rally at the Capitol on Jan. 26. The halls were filled with passionate students, parents and educators as they met with lawmakers to discuss the importance of education.

Christy Hardy, the assistant superintendent and admissions officer at Joplin’s College Heights Christian School, joins Sen. White and Jennifer Fuller during the annual school choice rally at the Capitol.

Please join me in welcoming Thomas Booker to our Senate team this week. Thomas will be serving as my office’s intern for the remainder of session. He is a senior at Westminster College and will graduate with a degree in biochemistry this spring. Welcome aboard, Thomas!

Senator White welcomes Thomas Booker to his team.