Sen. Bill White’s Capitol Report for May 16, 2022

Senator Bill White’s Capitol Report for May 16, 2022

The Final Gavel Falls

The final gavel fell on the evening of May 12, signaling the end of the Senate’s 2022 legislative session. Many of my sponsored bills were “Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed” as provisions of other legislation. Language from my utility bill was amended onto Senate Bill 745, which now heads to the governor’s desk for his consideration. The bill’s wide range of provisions include increasing the Public Service Commission’s flexibility to approve rate adjustments and creating task forces to study net metering and solar energy. Language from my bill to protect pharmacists who dispense ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine was added to House Bill 2149, which now awaits the governor’s signature. A bill I handled in the Senate, House Bill 2116, includes language from my Essential Caregiver Program Act to protect patients’ rights during pandemics was unanimously passed by the Senate on May 10.

Provisions of my Senate Bill 882 which designates March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day, authorizes a Missouri Orange Heart Medal for veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service and expands school choice options for military families were amended onto House Bill 2455 and are awaiting debate in the House. Similarly, my proposals to modify student loan programs, make elder neglect a felony charge, ensure patients aren’t left alone and strengthen the oversight of health care facilities, are now provisions of  the passed Senate Bill 710.

With the final passage of House Joint Resolution 116, voters will decide whether to create a stand-alone Missouri Department of National Guard or leave it housed with the Department of Public Safety. I will provide a formal summary of this session in my 2022 End of Session Report which will be mailed in the near future.

The Capitol dome was lit blue on May 7 to honor the 11 law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty during 2021.

Congressional District Maps

The final bill passed by the Senate was the congressional redistricting map found in House Bill 2909. This was a highly contentious subject throughout the session as we debated several possible versions that would both meet the requirements of our Constitution and be fair to voters. The updated 7th Congressional District now includes Jasper, Lawrence, Greene, Newton, McDonald, Barry, Stone, Christian, Taney and the southern half of Webster County.

Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget

One of the biggest challenges this session was passing our state’s operating budget, which includes federal and COVID-19 response funds. Next year’s operating budget fully funds our education foundation formula, raises teachers’ base salary to $38,000, pays down our public debt, expands rural broadband, repairs aging roads and bridges, updates water and wastewater systems and provides tax relief for many citizens. Missouri Southern State University will also receive $15 million for the Health Science Innovation Center.

May is National Foster Care Month

Help raise awareness, support families and meet the needs of the children in foster care throughout the month of May by sharing these child welfare tools and Missouri’s “Normalcy for Youth in Care” tip sheet. The Missouri Adoption Heart Gallery states there are over 1,600 children in need of a forever home and family, so please consider fostering if you are able.

Stake your Claim

A recent review of Missouri’s Unclaimed Property Database indicates the treasury is currently holding $13.7 billion worth of unclaimed property from the 32nd Senatorial District. Check the ShowMeMoney website, or send a letter to the treasurer’s office, to see if you are one of our community’s 195,000 account owners who need to stake their claim.

Invite Senator White

Beginning May 14, I will transition from a full-time, Jefferson City policymaker to an in-district senator. While I thoroughly enjoy the lawmaking process, I’m looking forward to spending time in our community. If you are planning a community event or civic engagement, please invite me. The more I can learn about our unique issues, the better I can represent you in the State Capitol. Thank you for entrusting me with this honor.

I’m also ready to dust off my hiking boots and hit the trails. Read my Let’s Take a Hike column for ideas and tips for enjoying the great outdoors.