Senator Rusty Black's Legislative Column for the Week of April 1, 2024

Friday, April 5, 2024

April 4, 2024


The Senate had another productive week and sent 10 bills to the Missouri House of Representatives, including Senate Bill 900. This is a bill I sponsored that would have a significant impact on the Daviess-DeKalb Regional Jail District. This legislation would facilitate the completion of a crucial new jail facility by proposing a continuous tax structure recognizing the unique nature of regional jail districts. This approach guards against the potential dissolution of the district by a single participant’s vote, a scenario that could undermine the district’s operational integrity. Furthermore, SB 900 outlines a transparent process for new counties considering joining the district. A public vote is mandated to adopt the sales tax supporting the district, ensuring not only public endorsement but also the financial capacity of the joining counties to contribute to the district’s operations. In other words, the funding generated from this sales tax would be earmarked for repaying debt associated with a replacement regional jail facility and supporting the operations of the Daviess-DeKalb Regional Jail District, a public local government entity. Senate Bill 900 still has to pass in the Missouri House of Representatives, but I remain optimistic that we can get this across the finish line.


The Missouri House of Representatives sent the Senate their version of the budget on Thursday, April 4. This means that the Senate Appropriations Committee could start their markup late next week, but I expect it we’ll start the following week. The House’s version approved approximately $50 billion in spending, $2 billon less than what the governor recommended. I am eager to continue to work with the governor, the Missouri House and my Senate colleagues to ensure that tax dollars are used efficiently and bring the most value to our state. The Missouri Senate only has a few weeks to approve our version of the budget before the House and Senate meet for a conference committee to work out the differences. The constitutional deadline to pass a budget is May 10.


Earlier this week, the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee had a hearing on a bill referred to as the “Right of First Refusal.” Under this act, incumbent electric companies in Missouri would have the right of first refusal on all transmission projects that connect to their systems and are approved by MISO or other regional transmission organizations. These companies have long-standing relationships with local businesses, farmers, landowners and elected officials in our communities. These companies can minimize the impact of new transmission lines on private property by co-locating on existing infrastructure instead of using eminent domain for the construction of new transmission lines. It is my hope that this bill can be brought to a vote and debated by the Senate as a whole.


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.