Legislative Column for the Week Ending March 13, 2015
Legislative Update

JEFFERSON CITY — Ending the week on a disheartening note, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed took to the Senate floor Thursday morning to address that day’s early morning attack on two law enforcement officers.

“This cowardly attack amounts to nothing more than attempted murder,” Sen. Nasheed said. “There should be a swift investigation to bring these cowards to justice. Protestors and city leaders alike should condemn the actions that took place overnight.”

The attack occurred in the wake of several announcements over the past two weeks that various Ferguson officials would resign. On Wednesday the Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson announced he was stepping down. Many observers lauded the resignation as a step toward reconciliation. But many also criticized the move because it allowed for a severance package worth nearly $100,000 to be paid out to the Chief after only five years with the department.

On Thursday, Sen. Nasheed made a national television appearance on MSNBC and gave interviews with several local media outlets, saying “I will not allow the cowardly perpetrators of this act to stifle the progress we have made toward beginning the healing process.  To move forward together we need to start talking solutions.”

Bills and Committees

Several of Sen. Nasheed’s bills moved in the legislative process this week:

Senate Bill 165, relating to criminal expungement, which would create a petition process for the expungement of records relating to certain criminal offenses, is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday (3-16) in the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, Sen. Nasheed’s sex trafficking awareness legislation, passed the House Select Committee on Commerce Wednesday night (7-0). It is now on the way to the House floor for debate.

Three bills were third read and sent to the House for similar consideration. Senate Bills 270, 156, and 166 are all awaiting referral to House committees.

Bills heard in Senate committees this week were:

  • Senate Bill 334, which would modify provisions relating to the boards of regents of state colleges and universities and broadens the degree-granting authority of Harris-Stowe State University. A public hearing was held in the Senate Education Committee.

Senator Nasheed suffered what appeared to be a setback this week as Senate Bill 44, also known as Ban the Box legislation, failed to be voted out of the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee.  The senator walked into the hearing with 5 votes, but at the last moment, one her colleagues changed their mind on the legislation and cast what became the deciding vote against the bill. Later that day however, Sen. Nasheed took to the floor on a point of personal privilege and appealed to her colleague to honor his word and make a motion to reconsider the vote. “Trust is all you have in this building,” she said.  Her colleague was convinced by the argument and agreed to have the vote reconsidered next week.


Other News

The House Budget Committee perfected the 13 bills that make up the state budget and sent the bills to the Senate for its consideration:


  • House Bill 1 - Appropriates money to the Board of Fund Commissioners.
  • House Bill 2 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • House Bill 3 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Higher Education.
  • House Bill 4 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Revenue and Department of Transportation.
  • House Bill 5 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Office of Administration, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Safety.
  • House Bill 6 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Conservation.
  • House Bill 7 - Appropriates money for the expenses and distributions of the departments of Economic Development; Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; and Labor and Industrial Relations.
  • House Bill 8 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Public Safety.
  • House Bill 9 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Corrections.
  • House Bill 10 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Mental Health, Board of Public Buildings, and Department of Health and Senior Services.
  • House Bill 11 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, and distributions of the Department of Social Services.
  • House Bill 12 - Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of statewide elected officials, the Judiciary, Office of the State Public Defender, and General Assembly.
  • House Bill 13 - Appropriates money for real property leases and related services.


Some budget debate highlights from the House floor:

The House spent 5½ hours debating the budget bills, which total $26.1 billion. A conservative estimate, counting only GR dollars (approx. $8 billion), the debate accounted for spending approvals at a rate of over $1 billion per hour.

House Bill 2 — DESE had an amendment which shifted $100,000 from Parents as Teachers to the Teach for America program. There was also an amendment to add $100,000 for homeless student transportation in Kansas City, as it was noted that St. Louis receives $275,000 [see HB 11 for decrease].

House Bill 5 — OA/Transportation/Public Safety had an amendment to reduce employee benefits by $333,000 and move that funding to HB 9 (Corrections) for the prisoner reentry program. There was also an amendment to remove smaller amounts from five line items (totaling $1.2 million) and moving the funds to HB 8 for National Guard tuition assistance.

House Bill 7 — Economic Development had an amendment to decrease by five (all vacancies) the number of Administrative Law Judges hearing Labor cases equaling $500,000.  The certified work-ready community program was increased by $100,000 [see HB 11 for decrease].

HB 8 — Public Safety had an amendment to add one FTE for $30,000 to administer the SAFE act.  Note entire funding of $1.5 million was withheld from the program in Fiscal Year 2015.

HB 10 — Mental Health had 2 amendments would increase provider rates for developmentally disabled care providers and private duty nursing rates for home/community services. Funding was also increased for community programs within the Division of Developmental Disabilities by $1 million GR and $1.7 million federal funds.  Funding moved from HB 11, Family Support division/income maintenance field staff.

HB 11 – Social Services had an amendment to decrease by $4 million savings via dental services and increase by $1 million Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. Also, a decrease of $1 million to fraud protection and an increase of $1 million to developmentally disabled provider pay.

Another representative then moved $500,000 from Family Support Division/income maintenance field staff to complex rehabilitation technology within Mo. Health Net.

Then, $20,000 was moved within funding to children’s treatment services from federal to GR.

Then, another $100,000 was moved from Medicare Part D clawback payments to HB 2 (homeless student transportation in KC).

$2.2 million was also moved from TANF funds for early childhood education into Food Banks funding, technically served under TANF funds.

Funding was eliminated for early childhood education for low-income families ($11 million from TANF funds).  $5 million was moved to the childcare assistance program (still using TANF funds).

Another change was made, a 7 percent income threshold increase for the childcare assistance program to state that:

  • daycare is paid in full for families making less than 138 percent of federal poverty level;
  • 75 percent up to 165 percent of poverty level;
  • 50 percent up to 190 percent of poverty level; and
  • 25 percent for families earning up to 215 percent of the federal poverty level.


$100,000 was moved from the Family Support Division/income maintenance field staff to the Certified Work ready program.

Funding was increased by $3.6 million for work assistance programs (TANF funds).

HB 12 – Elected/Public Defender — moved $100,000 from the Public Defender to the Office of Child Advocate to hire a lawyer.

House Bill 16 was debated in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. House Bill 16 is one page long, with three line items. The line items are (in rounded numbers):

  • $124 million for SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) from Federal Funds.
  • $5.1 million for state matching funds for federal disaster funds from GR.
  • $3.4 million for state expenses incurred responding to a declared emergency from GR.


It was noted during the hearing that the Highway Patrol (those above lieutenant rank) do not get paid overtime. However, during its response in Ferguson, EVERY Highway Patrol officer (regardless of rank) was paid overtime. The overtime alone equaled $2.9 million.  Salaries for the same time period totaled $1.9 million (in addition to the OT paid). The chair asked who made that decision, as it was apparently the first time in history higher ranks were paid OT. Linda Luebbering responded she was sure the decision was made within the confines of the constitution, but no name was given. Total paid in salaries/OT just for the Highway Patrol equals $4.8 million — a number the chair referred to as “malfeasance.”

The Joplin cleanup is also included in HB 16. The only issue raised was $6.3 million paid for “expedited debris removal”. The ‘expedited’ portion was a main cost contributor.

This week, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Youth Opportunity Programs granted Big Brothers Big Sisters $250,000. Senator Nasheed offered her heartiest congratulations by saying, “This is exactly the kind of positive news, and positive funding, we need to move the community forward. Every dollar we are able to get for young people will pay back huge dividends in the future.”

Senator Nasheed is also proud to announce the Believe in Missouri Scholarship, to be awarded to a constituent going back to college to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree with WGU Missouri.

A college degree is a necessity now more than ever, and Sen. Nasheed is working to boost college completion in our region. The Believe in Missouri scholarships are valued at up to $2,000 and are being provided by WGU Missouri-based on legislative districts throughout the state. They are designed to help working adults reach their dreams of a degree in a format that fits their lives.

Senator Nasheed will help select the local scholarship recipient, based on academic record, financial need and readiness for study at WGU Missouri. 

WGU Missouri is Missouri’s online university, providing bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that are respected and accredited. Residents can earn a degree in business, information technology, teacher education, or healthcare (including nursing). Tuition is only about $6,000 per year, and students may take as many courses as they can complete within each term.

To be eligible for a Believe in Missouri scholarship, an applicant must be a new WGU student, and be officially admitted to WGU. Applications are being accepted at missouri.wgu.edu/believe.