|Week of April 4, 2022|
Priority Legislation Moving Forward
After a successful week on the Senate floor, I’m pleased to report that several pieces of my priority legislation are heading to the Missouri House of Representatives.
The Senate recently took up and passed Senate Bill 718, which I sponsored. This bill designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri. I hope this legislation will help highlight the importance of historically black colleges and universities, especially Lincoln University and Harris-Stowe State University, both located right here in Missouri. Senate Bill 718 is currently in the House, waiting to be referred to a committee.
The Senate also passed House Bill 1720, an omnibus agriculture bill this week. Among other provisions, this legislation includes the urban farms tax credit, which I sponsored in Senate Bill 717. This tax credit is equal to fifty percent of a taxpayer’s expenses incurred in the construction or development of establishing or improving a farm in an urban area. I believe this will help grow urban farms throughout our community and promote locally-sourced foods. House Bill 1720 now heads back to the Missouri House for further consideration.
House Sends $46.52 Billion State Operating Budget to Senate
With just four weeks left until the constitutional deadline for passing the FY 2023 state operating budget, the House of Representatives on April 7 voted to advance the various appropriations bills that make up the state’s nearly $46.52 billion spending plan to the Senate. However, in a move criticized by some members of the House, the spending proposals leave $1.8 billion in general revenue – plus billions more in federal funds – unallocated.
House Pushes for Changes to Ballot Measures
On April 6, the House of Representatives granted first-round approval to legislation aimed at changing the requirements to enact proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution.
At present, a simple majority of the votes cast statewide is needed to ratify a proposed constitutional amendment. Under House Joint Resolution 132, ratification would require both a simple majority of the statewide vote and majority approval in at least 82 of Missouri’s 163 state House of Representatives districts. As a result, even if an amendment passed by a wide margin in the statewide vote, ratification could still fail if voters in a majority of House districts rejected it.
The same day, the House also granted first-round passage to another version of legislation it previously approved to raise the threshold to ratify proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot via the initiative petition process. Under House Joint Resolution 133, ratification would require approval from a simple majority of all registered voters, instead of the traditional simple majority of votes cast.
If approved by the Legislature, both HJR 132 and HJR 133 would go on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot and require simple majorities of the votes cast to be ratified.
House Votes to Reduce Unemployment Benefits
On April 6, the House granted preliminary approval to legislation cutting the maximum number of weeks of benefits from the current 20 weeks to as low as eight weeks depending on the state’s unemployment rate. House Bill 1860 would allow for 20 weeks of unemployment benefits if the state’s unemployment rate is higher than 9% and scales down to eight weeks if the unemployment rate is at or below 3.5%. A second vote is required to advance the bill to the Senate.
House Passes Utilities Bill
On April 6, the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation to the Senate that would authorize investor-owned electric utilities to charge customers upfront for the cost of planning or constructing a nuclear power plant. Supporters of the bill, House Bill 1684, say the change will encourage Ameren Missouri to build a second nuclear plant in the state. Opponents say utility investors should bear the upfront costs and associated risks and noted situations in other states in which customers were charged billions of dollars for plants that were never built.
Secretary of State Sued Over Congressional Redistricting
Several lawsuits have been filed against Missouri’s secretary of state, seeking to block him from using the state’s decade-old congressional districts for the 2022 elections and asking a judge to draw new districts given the General Assembly’s failure to do so. The House of Representatives and Senate remain deadlocked over redrawing Missouri’s eight congressional districts to reflect population shifts under the 2020 U.S. Census.
In the absence of new districts, the secretary of state allowed candidates for the Aug. 2 congressional primaries to file under the state’s current congressional map enacted in 2011. Several of the lawsuits contend the current districts are unconstitutional and can’t be used since they aren’t based on the most recent Census. As of April 6, no action had been taken in these cases.
Net General Revenue Up 5.6% Compared To Last Year
Net state general revenue collections for the first nine months of the 2022 fiscal year were up 5.6% compared to the same period in FY 2021, going from $7.85 billion last year to $8.29 billion this year, according the Missouri Division of Budget and Planning. Year-to-date net general revenue had been up just 2.2% through the first eight months of the fiscal year.
The big jump in year-to-date revenue in just one month was due to strong collections in March, which saw net collections rise by a 42.6% compared to March 2021, going from $650.2 million last year to $926.9 million this year.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Special License Plate
During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 189, which I was proud to sponsor. This legislation creates a special license plate for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Anyone interested in supporting this Kansas City gem can apply for the license plate by following these steps:
- Make a $10 donation to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
- Donations can be made directly to the museum or by sending the museum a check upon submitting your application. Be sure to get a receipt for your contribution.
- Complete the 1716 form to apply for the specialty license plate. This form can be found at mo.gov/motor-vehicle/plates/personalized-specialty.html.
- When completing the form, select “other” and fill in that you are applying for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum plate.
- Send your application, along with your $10 museum donation (or the receipt for your donation), and your $15 standard plate application fee to the museum at 1616 E. 18th St., KCMO 64108.
As of April 9, 2021, anyone age 5 and up is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Please contact your local pharmacy or health care provider for information on how best to receive one of the available vaccines. For more information about the vaccine in Missouri, please visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.
University Health is now providing Pfizer, Moderna and J & J booster shots for COVID-19. The CDC approved a booster shot for any adult who received their first two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, or for any adult who received a single dose of the J & J vaccine at least two months ago. If you are eligible, you can schedule an appointment by calling 816-404-CARE or walk in to University Health (2211 Charlotte St., KCMO 64108) or University Health Lakewood Medical Center (7900 Lee’s Summit Road, KCMO 64139). The COVID-19 vaccine is available to children 5-12 at these two locations as well. Established patients may make an appointment with their child’s provider at the Med/Ped’s clinic at UHTMC or the Family Medicine Clinic at UHLMC. Additional vaccine information, including free transportation info, is available at www.universityhealthkc.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/.
The Jackson County Health Department also has numerous vaccine and testing clinics available. For more information, please visit jacohd.org.
The Center for COVID Recovery is open to treat patients who experience long-term effects from the virus. For more information, visit universityhealthkc.org/covid-19/center-for-covid-recovery; please share this information with anyone who continues to struggle after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Thank you for your vote of confidence to serve the people of the 9th District in the Missouri Senate. In an effort to keep you up-to-date with my legislation or other proposed measures, please feel free to visit my website at senate.mo.gov/Washington. I appreciate your active interest in your community and encourage your participation in the legislative process. Should you need assistance with state matters, please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-3158.
|Senate Bill 717||Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert||Voted Do Pass by Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 718||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Second Read in the House|
|Senate Bill 719||Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes||Second Read and Referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 793||Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 794||Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters||Voted Do Pass by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee|
|Senate Bill 795||Modifies provisions relating to law enforcement officer use of force||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 854||Modifies provisions relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies||Second Read and Referred to Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee|
|Senate Bill 855||Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media||Second Read and Referred to Senate Education Committee|
|Senate Bill 856||Modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 896||Modifies provisions relating to probation and parole for certain offenders||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 897||Authorizes a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products||Second Read and Referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Bill 898||Allows a museum property tax levy to be used for certain museums||Second Read and Referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee|
|Senate Bill 994||Creates new provisions prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles||Formal Calendar for Senate Bills for Perfection|
|Senate Bill 995||Modifies provisions relating to parole eligibility||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1094||Modifies provisions relating to wrongful convictions||Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1130||Modifies provisions relating to earned compliance credits for probation||Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1145||Establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week” in Missouri||Voted Do Pass by Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1146||Modifies provisions relating to organ donation||Voted Do Pass by Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1147||Requires the MO HealthNet Division to conduct an annual review of services available for enrollees with sickle cell disease||Voted Do Pass by Senate Health and Pensions Committee|
|Senate Bill 1172||Modifies provisions relating to sales tax revenues for certain transportation authorities||Second Read and Referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee|
|Senate Bill 1193||Modifies provisions relating to electric vehicle tax credits||Second Read and Referred to Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1194||Modifies provisions relating to voter registration||Second Read and Referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee|
|Senate Bill 1195||Modifies provisions relating to the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development||Second Read and Referred to Senate Education Committee|
|Senate Bill 1196||Modifies provisions relating to a tax credit for providing services to homeless persons||Second Read and Referred to Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1205||Modifies provisions relating to the certification of juveniles for trial as an adult||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1230||Modifies provisions relating to expungement of criminal records||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Concurrent Resolution 35||Establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week”||Hearing Conducted by Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee|
|Senate Joint Resolution 42||Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties||Second Read and Referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
|Senate Joint Resolution 43||Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties||Second Read and Referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee|
# # #