Legislative Column for the Week Ending April 10, 2015
Legislative Update

JEFFERSON CITY— Debating the budget of the State of Missouri on Tuesday, the Missouri State Senate engaged in a nine hour debate on House Bill 11 – a budget bill that dictates the funding for the Department of Social Services.

A motion to pass HB 11, a section of the Missouri Budget, initially failed in the Senate. The State of Missouri constitutionally must have a balanced budget at the end of each legislative session for the next fiscal year. Being that HB 11 failed, a member of the prevailing side brought forth a motion for reconsideration and that motion passed (18-15) in the Senate.

Sen. Nasheed inquired of her colleague who was advocating for mental health budgeting, but is opposed to Medicaid expansion. Sen. Nasheed asked “How can you be in support of this expansion in one breath, but then oppose Medicaid Expansion in another?”

This discussion kept Senators and staff working until 4:30 a.m., pushing Wednesday’s session back to 3 p.m. Though Senators and staff were exhausted from their hard work, the following day the legislators found the energy they needed to keep the legislative ball rolling.

Unfortunately the long hours wore on Sen. Nasheed, as she was feeling under-the-weather. She said, “I will have all weekend to recover, right now it is important to get these budget bills done.”

On The Floor

Senate Bill 155
Thursday on the floor, Sen. Nasheed’s Senate Bill 155 was taken up for debate. In preparation for inquiry from her colleagues, Sen. Nasheed preemptively addressed potential questions on the bill. She stated, “This bill will create a neighborhood watch fund that is disbursed by the department of Public Safety. Senate Bill 155 will help citizens take responsibility for the safety of their own neighborhoods.” After hearing Sen. Nasheed speak, no further debate was required. The bill was then unanimously voted ‘perfected’ by the Senate, and is scheduled to be third read and passed next week.

SB 334
This measure, granting Harris-Stowe State University the ability to offer a more diverse range of degree options to their students, is on the calendar for perfection in the Missouri Senate, and will be heard next week on the floor. Sen. Nasheed stated, “It is important that we offer more options to our youth in higher education. Harris-Stowe is a staple in St. Louis Education, and it is one of my top priorities to give them the opportunity to continue to educate our young people in the best way they can.”

Bills and Committees

On Tuesday, Sen. Nasheed’s Senate Bill 270 was heard in the House Pensions Committee. Senate Bill 270 would create a seat to represent charter schools on the Board of Trustees for the St. Louis and Kansas City Public School Retirement Systems. This is a position that did not previously exist, despite the fact that charter schools constitute approximately 30 percent of the school systems in the two cities.

Sen. Nasheed stated passionately, “We need to have representation for these individuals. In order to take care of the kids in our education system, we have to take care of their teachers and administrators. The only way that we can do that effectively is to give them representation.”

On the House side, Sen. Nasheed’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 was voted ‘do pass’ in the Trade & Tourism Committee’s public hearing on Wednesday, and it was referred to the Select Committee on Commerce. SCR 2 is a bill that will bring more awareness to the eating disorder known as PICA. PICA is a disease that causes an individual to have cravings for, and eat non-food items. Studies show that this is a disorder that is shown to affect up to 26 percent of institutionalized children, but there is a limited amount of research on this potentially deadly disease due to lack of awareness.

Sen. Nasheed stated, “Relationships I have developed with constituents that have children who suffer from this disease brought its severity to my attention. I think that raising the awareness of this disease is the first step in getting these children the help and attention they need.”

On Tuesday, April 14, at 12 p.m., Sen. Nasheed’s Senate Bill 269 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. This bill, known as the ‘anti-shackling bill’ prevents the use of restraints on children under the age of 17 during court proceedings except in certain circumstances. Sen. Nasheed stated, “It isn’t right to put kids in handcuffs and chains if they are not a danger to the people around them.”

Also, Senate Bill 156 and Senate Bill 166, both sponsored by Sen. Nasheed are both being heard in the House Transportation Committee. Senate Bill 156 will designate a stretch of highway in St. Louis the “Theodore McNeal Highway” in respect to the former Senator of the district, and the first black State Senator in Missouri. Senate Bill 166 will change the “I Have a Dream” specialty license plate to the “Dare to Dream” license plate.


The two chambers of the Missouri Legislature will hold a conference committee in regards to the failure to agree on the budget proposed by House Bills 2-13. Though the budget has passed in both chambers, the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate will work out the differences that they have before presenting the final budget to the governor.

All House Bills in the Budget will be discussed during this conference committee except for House Bill 1 – Public Debt. The Senate and House could not agree on the rest of the Missouri Budget and must come to a common ground in conference next week.

House Updates

The Republican-controlled General Assembly on April 8 overrode our Democratic governor’s veto of legislation that will prohibit retired school superintendents from serving on the school board of a district where they formerly worked. Nixon’s veto of HB 63 fell on votes of 111-49 in the House of Representatives and 24-9 in the Senate.

The override action came as something of a surprise since the primary purpose of the bill was to fix various problems with statutes pertaining to local elections in advance of the April 7 municipal and school board elections. After the legislation was vetoed on April 3, the expectation had been that lawmakers would likely pass a new version of the bill without the provision relating to superintendents serving on school boards, which was added to the bill late in the process.
In his veto message, the governor said he opposed erecting a “permanent barrier” to retired superintendents serving on school boards. “The law should encourage – not prohibit – those who aspire to serve in public office,” Missouri’s governor said. “In our democratic system, otherwise qualified candidates should not be disqualified simply because of their expertise.”

The House of Representatives on April 9 voted 95-60 in favor of legislation that would make it more difficult for workers to sue their employers for unlawful discrimination. The bill, House Bill 1019, also would weaken legal protections for whistleblowers that expose illegal activity by their employer.
House Bill 1019 would raise the legal bar for proving a discrimination claim, limit who is subject to being sued for discrimination, and restrict the amount of damages a plaintiff can collect if they do manage to win their case in spite of the new hurdles. The bill now advances to the Senate. The governor has vetoed similar legislation in recent years.

Other News

Sen. Nasheed was greeted Wednesday by Harris-Stowe State University students, faculty, and the newly appointed president. Dr. Dwaun Warmack requested that Sen. Nasheed speak to the students briefly during their visit to the Capitol. In her speech, Sen. Nasheed highlighted the importance of community leadership and personal responsibility.

In response to questions about what the students can do, it was stated by Sen. Nasheed, “Our civil responsibilities to our communities start with you all. If you see a piece of trash on the street, instead of walking by it, pick it up. It might be simple, but small efforts are a necessary step towards making the community a better place for all of us.”

This week Sen. Nasheed drafted letters of support for local organizations that are seeking Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits. Recipients of these letters are the Criminal Justice Ministry, Redevelopment Opportunities for Women Incorporated, Peter & Paul Community Services, and Our Little Haven. All of these organizations have demonstrated exemplary work in community engagement, garnering the support of Sen. Nasheed in their efforts to further assist the neighborhood.

Two other community organizations are receiving tax credits and grants to help further develop the neighborhoods in the 5th Senatorial District. The first of these organizations is St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), which was awarded the Community Development Block Grant. This grant will provide the organization with $565,000 to assist the organization with summer youth jobs and internships.

The Center for Emerging Technologies was the second organization to be awarded in her district this week. St. Louis was approved for $91,539 in Small Business Incubator state tax credits. Sen. Nasheed, the Department of Economic Development, and the organizations and citizens of St. Louis City are taking steps toward the betterment of the 5th District by creating jobs and opportunities for the people of St. Louis.

In the shadow of last year’s unrest following the shooting of Michael Brown, Sen. Nasheed was interviewed for her response to the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina. In a passionate discussion of the video recording that shows an officer shooting a fleeing Walter Scott, Sen. Nasheed stated “The video is surreal. It’s chilling to see the officer’s calmness as he shoots an unarmed man who was fleeing. This is proof that we should have an increase in police accountability.”