Senator Barbara Anne Washington's Legislative Column for Jan. 12, 2023

Thursday, January 12, 2023

- Week of Jan. 13, 2023

Following last week’s legislative fanfare, this week was procedural by comparison. Committee appointments were assigned, the first hearing was conducted and the schedule for the various committee hearings was posted. For the duration of the 102nd General Assembly, I will serve on the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Appropriations; Health and Welfare; and the Local Government and Elections committees. As soon as bills are referred to committees, the chairs will start to schedule hearings, possibly as soon as next week. Hearings are one of my favorite parts of the legislative process because they offer the general public an opportunity to share their stories and weigh in on the bills being considered. If you are interested in testifying at an upcoming hearing and haven’t done so in the past, my team can assist you.

As I write this report, nearly 500 bills and multiple resolutions have been filed in the Senate. This does not count the proposals submitted by the House of Representatives, so we definitely have a packed docket of legislation to consider this session.

Gearing up for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, members of the General Assembly paid tribute to MLK’s achievements with the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Program, hosted by the 2023 Missouri Legislative Black Caucus on Jan. 11. I had the great honor of introducing the event’s keynote speaker and first African American woman to serve on Missouri’s Supreme Court, Judge Robin Ransom. The Black Legislative Caucus is now 26 members strong, a major improvement over the zero who served when MLK was alive, but it also reveals we have more work to do before the Legislature is truly reflective of Missouri’s population.

Since the nation will honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. next Monday, I thought this would be a great time to explain the bills I am sponsoring to help uplift the Black community. It’s hard to believe this bill is even necessary in 2023, but once again, I am carrying a proposal to ban discriminatory practices based on hairstyles in our state’s educational institutions. I cannot understand how or why this is an issue, but hopefully, this bill will pass, put an end to this draconian form of racism and allow people to be judged “by the content of their character,” not the hairstyle they have chosen.

Another proposal I believe will greatly benefit our community is Senate Bill 444. This measure ensures law enforcement officers who act inappropriately will be disciplined, tracked and forbidden from licensure if multiple offenses occur. The legislation also establishes a use-of-force database to monitor incidents involving peace officers and authorizes background checks for newly hired officers. While I back the majority of law enforcement officers who act in good faith 100%, this bill will help eliminate the few exceptions to that rule.

I’ll close with my favorite quote from Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Those who attended MLK’s program on Wednesday bore witness to a Rotunda full of light and love.


Below is a list of the bills I have sponsored in 2023. If you have questions or need additional information or assistance, please contact my office.

Senator Washington’s Sponsored Legislation for 2023

Bill Number




Senate Bill 423

Modifies provisions relating to certification of juveniles for trial as adults

First Read

Senate Bill 424

Creates new provisions on discriminatory practices relating to hair.

First Read

Senate Bill 425

Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes.

First Read

Senate Bill 433

Authorizes a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products.

First Read

Senate Bill 434

Authorizes a tax credit for providing services to homeless persons.

First Read

Senate Bill 435

Creates a Text-to-Donate program for homeless services in certain cities.

First Read

Senate Bill 437

Authorizes a tax credit for providing housing to victims of domestic violence.

First Read

Senate Bill 438

Creates a pilot program for incarcerated mothers to have access to their children.

First Read

Senate Bill 439

Creates the offense of unlawful possession of a handgun.

First Read

Senate Bill 440

Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media.

First Read

Senate Bill 441

Creates provisions relating to firearms.

First Read

Senate Bill 442

Modifies provisions relating to concealed firearms.

First Read

Senate Bill 443

Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters.

First Read

Senate Bill 444

Creates provisions relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies.

First Read

Senate Bill 445

Modifies provisions relating to use of force by law enforcement officers.

First Read

Senate Bill 446

Modifies provisions relating to restitution for individuals who are actually innocent.

First Read

Senate Bill 447

Modifies provisions relating to criminal records.

First Read

Senate Joint Resolution 36

Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties.

First Read

 It is an honor representing the great people of Kansas City’s 9th Senatorial District. If you need assistance navigating state government or understanding the legislative process, please contact me by calling 573-751-3158 or emailing My team is here for you!