Sen. Barbara Anne Washington’s Legislative Column for the Week of Dec. 27, 2021

Week of Dec. 27, 2021

State Minimum Wage Set to Increase Beginning Jan. 1

The standard statewide minimum wage for most Missouri workers will increase to $11.15 an hour on Jan. 1, a jump of 85 cents from the current rate of $10.30 an hour. The bump will be the fourth of five phased-in increases approved by voters in 2018, with the final one taking Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 in 2023.

State agencies and local governments – counties, municipalities, school districts and other political subdivisions of the state – are exempt from paying the wage increases. Government employers are still required to pay workers the old state minimum wage of $7.85 an hour, but because of high vacancy rates in state jobs, the governor has proposed establishing a $15 minimum wage for state employees. Lawmakers would have to approve the spending for the governor’s pay proposal during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 5.

Judge Rejects Intervention in COVID Mitigation Case

On Dec. 22, a Cole County Circuit judge denied motions to intervene from five counties seeking to appeal a recent decision striking down several state health department regulation. The counties are expected to appeal the denial of their intervention, thus still getting the issue before a higher court.

The issue stems from a Nov. 22 court decision that declared unconstitutional four state regulations authorizing the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to delegate responses to public health emergencies to local officials. The Nov. 22 decision has since been used as the basis for demanding all local governments cease all coronavirus mitigation efforts. While some local officials have stopped enforcement, others have been defiant, claiming they still legal authority to continue carrying out coronavirus mitigation efforts.

MoDOT Sues to Enforce “Stands Appropriated” Language

The Missouri State Highways and Transportation Commission is suing the state in an effort to enforce its constitutional authority to spend State Road Fund revenue without a legislative appropriation. The commission wants to provide raises for state Department of Transportation employees to combat high turnover rates, but the Legislature hasn’t approved an appropriations increase for that purpose.

The Missouri Constitution generally prohibits state agencies from spending money without a legislative appropriation specifying the amount and purpose of the spending. However, MoDOT is unique in that it has a constitutionally-dedicated funding source in the State Road Fund, the revenues of which the constitution says “shall stand appropriated without legislative action.” Despite this language, the General Assembly traditionally appropriates money from the Road Fund each year, just as it does from other revenue sources under its direct control. The Missouri State Highways and Transportation Commission, which is the independent governing authority for MoDOT, sued the Missouri Office of Administration on Dec. 3 after the agency ignored the commission’s requests to approve monetary transfers from the Road Fund pursuant to the “stands appropriated” provision for the purpose of increasing worker pay.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Special License Plate

During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 189, which I sponsored. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, all adult Missouri residents are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of occupation. 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 2 (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.

Senator Washington’s Sponsored Legislation for 2021

Bill Number Description Status
Senate Bill 82 Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert Voted Do Pass by Senate Ways and Means Committee
Senate Bill 83 Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri Second read and referred to Senate Education Committee
Senate Bill 84 Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes Hearing Conducted in Senate Ways and Means Committee
Senate Bill 145 Creates new provisions of law relating to discriminatory practices Voted Do Pass by Senate Small Business and Industry Committee
Senate Bill 146 Modifies provisions relating to landlord- tenant actions Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee
Senate Bill 147 Modifies provisions relating to tax increment financing Second read and referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee
Senate Bill 189 Creates a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum special license plate Signed by governor
Senate Bill 190 Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Senate Bill 191 Creates new provisions relating to the counting of inmates for the purpose of redistricting Second read and referred to Select Committee on Redistricting
Senate Bill 357 Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters Hearing Conducted by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee
Senate Bill 419 Relating to use of force by law enforcement officers Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Senate Bill 420 Relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies Second read and referred to Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee
Senate Bill 434 Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media Senate Informal Calendar for Senate Bills for Perfection
Senate Bill 440 Modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Senate Bill 441 Establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force Voted Do Pass by Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee
Senate Bill 446 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 509 Creates and modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Senate Bill 542 Creates new provisions relating to the recovery of employment security benefits Second read and referred to Senate Small Business and Industry Committee
Senate Bill 543 Establishes standards for demographic data collection by certain entities Hearing Conducted by Senate Health and Pensions Committee
Senate Joint Resolution 17 Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties Second read and referred to Senate Local Government and Elections Committee

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