After our legislative spring break last week, I was energized and ready to return to Jefferson City and continue our work in the State Capitol. It was a busy week, and I want to share the highlights with you in this week’s legislative column.
North County Recreation Center Vaccination Event
Since the beginning of our state’s vaccine rollout, I have been concerned about the lack of vaccinations in North County. To help remedy this issue, Representatives Jay Mosley, Alan Gray, Neil Smith, Michael Person, Marlene Terry and I spoke to the state about hosting a vaccination event specifically for eligible North County residents. I worked closely with the state, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri Department of Transportation to plan this event and ensure it ran smoothly. We secured the location, the North County Recreation Center, and scheduled the event for Saturday, March 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., as well as hosted the event.
This event was unique because we requested permission from the state to serve vulnerable populations in North County by targeting specific zip codes. Eligible residents who preregistered with the county were eligible to be vaccinated at this event. St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page stopped by the event and met with state representatives and I to discuss the importance of ensuring our community’s vulnerable residents had equitable access to a COVID-19 vaccine. As our state continues the vaccine rollout, I am hopeful similar events will be held in the future.
I want to thank the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri Department of Transportation and all of the vaccinators and volunteers who ran this event. I also want to thank Rochelle Walton Gray, the COVID-19 community outreach coordinator, for her excellent work with helping us get the residents of North County registered for the vaccination event. Everyone involved made sure this event ran smoothly and over 2,000 vaccines were administered. I even heard from a constituent who was impressed with how well organized the event was and how they spent only around 40 minutes at the recreation center. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this event. It was certainly a success, and I look forward to seeing more vaccination events take place in our community.
State Lottery Winners
On Tuesday, March 23, I had the pleasure of presenting Senate Bill 272 to the Senate General Laws Committee. This legislation prohibits the State Lottery Commission, any employee of the State Lottery and any organization working with the State Lottery from publishing any identifying information of a lottery winner. Winning the lottery is a significant life event that can come with unexpected dilemmas, and I believe it should be that individual’s choice if they decide to publicly disclose their identity. This was my first time presenting a bill in a Senate committee, and I am hopeful this important legislation passes the committee and continues moving through the legislative process.
Protecting Local Government Authority
On Wednesday, March 24, my fellow senators and I discussed Senate Bill 12. This legislation would limit the authority of local governments to institute health orders during a declared state of emergency. If a local government institutes a health order that would close businesses, churches and other gathering places for more than 15 days in a 180-day period, the legislation requires a two-thirds vote of the political subdivision’s governing body for the extended shutdown to take place. I participated in a filibuster during the nearly 12-hour debate of this legislation because I do not believe local governments should be restricted in this way, especially during a public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Bill 12 failed to receive initial approval from the Senate, but I will continue to oppose this legislation to protect local governments and their ability to make decisions that best serve their community.
The Links Incorporated Virtual Day at the Capitol
This week, I was proud to speak at The Links, Incorporated’s Virtual Day at the Capitol. The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation established in 1946. The organization consists of more 16,000 professional women of African descent from 292 chapters across 41 states in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. This group is one of the oldest and largest volunteer organizations made up of women who are committed to enriching and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other individuals of African descent. It was an honor to meet with these incredible individuals, and I am hopeful next year’s event can be held in person.
Virtual Hispanic Capitol Day
On Thursday, March 25, I was honored to participate in a panel discussion for virtual Hispanic Capitol Day. I enjoyed discussing the unique issues and challenges facing the members of our state’s Hispanic community. As a state senator, I look forward to doing everything I can to help these wonderful Missourians.
Resolution Presented to Retired Staff Sergeant Alexis Brice
On Tuesday, March 23, I was proud to present retired Staff Sergeant Alexis Brice with a resolution to celebrate her military service for Women’s Military History Week and Women’s History Month. Staff Sergeant Brice served our country in the United States Army Reserve for 25 years. During that time, she served in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm and in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Staff Sergeant Brice is a dear family friend, and I am immensely proud of her accomplishments and her dedication to serving our country. It was my honor to present her with a resolution commemorating her military service to celebrate Women’s Military History Week.
Michael McMillan’s Appointment to the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents Confirmed by the Missouri Senate
During each legislative session, the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee considers appointments of citizens to various state boards and commissions. This week, I was proud to sponsor Michael McMillan and present him to the committee for his appointment to the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents. On Thursday, March 25, Mr. McMillan’s appointment was approved by the full Senate.
Mr. McMillan has served as the president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis since 2013. He serves as a member of the St. Louis Zoological Commission Board of Directors, St. Louis Community Foundation and Workforce Investment Board of St. Louis County. Mr. McMillan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American studies and a minor in political science from St. Louis University. He is an Eisenhower Fellow and American Council of Young Political Leaders alumni, and he was recently inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame as its youngest member. Mr. McMillan’s dedication to our community is evident, and I am certain he will serve the students, faculty and staff of Harris-Stowe State University well during his tenure. I wish him the best of luck as he begins his term on the Board of Regents.
The April 6 election is less than two weeks away, and I again wanted to express my support for Proposition E. In my opinion, voting “yes” on Proposition E would give the Riverview Gardens School District the funding it needs to fully invest in their students and implement additional programs and services to achieve full accreditation. I believe we cannot give up on schools simply because they are failing. The students who attend these schools deserve an equitable, quality education, and I believe the funding generated from Prop E will help the school district achieve full accreditation. You can learn more about Proposition E and the other issues and candidates on the April ballot by visiting stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-government/board-of-elections.
Register for the COVID-19 Vaccine
As our state continues the vaccine rollout, I continue to encourage everyone to register to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines at stlcorona.com. The governor recently announced that Phase 2 will open on March 29, and Phase 3, which includes all adult Missourians, will open on April 9. Even if you are not currently eligible, but want to be vaccinated, it is a good idea to pre-register with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. The department will then contact you when you are eligible so you can sign up for an appointment to receive your vaccine.
For more information on Sen. Walton Mosley’s legislative actions, please visit her official Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/Mosley.