Senator Rusty Black's Legislative Column for the Week of Feb. 5, 2024

Friday, February 9, 2024

Feb. 9, 2024


This past week has been a busy time for the Missouri Senate, while bills are starting to be placed on the calendar for floor debate, budget discussions and committees have taken up most of the days, and I am committed to finding solutions that benefit the constituents of the 12th Senatorial District. This week, the Missouri State Capitol saw an influx of individuals from the great northwest part of our state as the annual event called “Great Northwest Days” took place on Tuesday, Feb. 6. This event is used to show the importance and the economic impact of our area of the state. I was encouraged by the amount of constituents, businesses and local entities that made their presence known in our Capitol.


Also on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and Wednesday, Feb. 7, five Missouri Senate committees held hearings on several bills that I have filed this session. Senate Bill 899, which was heard in the Health and Welfare Committee, would increase the number of before and after-school programs by expanding physical space licensing exemptions for programs serving only school-age youth. This change would make it easier for programs to operate in buildings such as community centers, rec centers, libraries and armories. Licensing regulations are designed to keep infants and toddlers safe, but school-age youth are developmentally different and do not need the same protections as infants and toddlers.


Senate Bill 1111 also received a hearing in the Health and Welfare Committee. This legislation would allow eligible children with medical complexities who receive private duty nursing through the Medicaid Health Children and Youth Program to receive that same skilled nursing care in an integrated child care setting. This offers children opportunities to socialize with other children, both with and without medical complexities. It also helps parents have a more consistent method of appropriate and coordinated care for their children with medical complexities and alleviates some of the critical shortage of nurses to provide private duty nursing services as nurses will be able to serve multiple children simultaneously. In the Committee on General Laws, I presented Senate Joint Resolution 71, which — upon voter approval — would provide a permanent fix to the depleting Sheriff’s Retirement Fund. Senate Joint Resolution 71 would allow a $3 court fee to be used to fund the Sheriff’s Retirement Fund the same way it has been funded since 1980 until a recent Supreme Court ruling determined that sheriffs were not part of the “administration of justice.”


The Appropriations Committee continues to hear testimony from various departments regarding their budget requests and the governor’s recommendations. We heard from the governor’s office, the Department of Corrections, Department of National Guard, Office of the State Public Defender and the Department of Health and Senior Services.


As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is 573-751-1415, my email is and my mailing address is
 201 W. Capitol Ave., Room 331, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.