|Week of Feb. 28, 2022|
Senate Ends Busy Week on Abrupt Note
A number of bills have begun to make their way to the Senate floor for the full chamber’s consideration.
On March 1, the Senate debated Senate Bill 678, which modifies the funding requirements for the Kansas City Police Department. Currently, Kansas City is required to spend one-fifth of its general revenue on the police department. Senate Bill 678 attempted to increase that amount to 26% and as well as have other forms of city revenue be considered as part of general revenue. Several senators, myself included, raised concerns about how this increased funding requirement may negatively impact other important services the city provides and how the bill fails to further policing reforms. In the end, the measure was changed to only require Kansas City spend one-fourth, rather than the one-fifth, of its general revenue on policing. Senate Bill 678 needs one more vote to be sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Another piece of legislation the Senate discussed was Senate Bill 698, which would extend MO HealthNet benefits for low-income pregnant and postpartum women. Currently, these women are eligible for benefits throughout the pregnancy and for 60 days afterwards. Senate Bill 698 would extend the coverage of these benefits until one year following the end of the pregnancy. During debate, some senators objected to the bill and tried to attach anti-abortion legislation to it. Ultimately, SB 698 was laid over and is pending further debate.
On March 3, a number of senators took to the floor to speak at length on the Senate’s journal. As this discussion was going on, a motion was made to adjourn, and it was approved, bringing the legislative week to an abrupt end.
Deadly Force Bill Heard in Missouri House
On March 1, a House panel considered House Bill 2118, which would change state law to allow someone who used physical or deadly force to be presumed to have acted in self-defense and be “immune from criminal prosecution or civil action.” Not only could that person not be prosecuted, the bill would prohibit suspects from being arrested, detained or charged with a crime unless authorities can prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that suspect didn’t act in self-defense. This comes nearly three weeks after a Senate committee rejected similar legislation and prevented it from advancing to the full Senate.
Governor Appoints Another Acting Health Department Director
On March 1, the governor appointed a 22-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as the agency’s acting director, following his previous choice for the position failing to be confirmed by the Senate.
Paula Nickelson immediately took over as acting director from Richard Moore, the department’s general counsel. Moore temporarily led the agency for a month after the confirmation of Donald Kauerauf stalled in the Senate. Kauerauf ultimately resigned when the Senate didn’t act by a Feb. 4 constitutional deadline to approve his appointment.
In a news release announcing Nickelson’s appointment, the governor didn’t say how long she will remain acting director or if he plans to again attempt to install a permanent director. As acting director, she doesn’t face Senate confirmation.
House Passes Bill to Require KC to Spend More on Police
The House of Representatives voted 99-42 to send legislation that requires Kansas City to increase the amount of local revenue it spends on its police department.
Currently, Kansas City is required to allocate at least one-fifth of its general revenue fund for the police department. House Bill 1986 seeks to greatly expand the base of what is considered general revenue by including special taxes that are dedicated for specific purposes outside of the general fund. The bill now advances to the Senate.
Amendment Turns Tax Cut Into Big Tax Increase
A legislative snafu that transformed a $144 million tax cut into a $416 million tax increase has resulted in the bill being sent back to its original committee to have the problem fixed.
As originally filed, House Bill 1992 sought to further reduce the state sales tax on food. However, before the House Ways and Means Committee voted to approve the bill on Feb. 22, an amendment was successfully added, changing the list of foods that are mostly exempt from sales taxes. But because of the way it was worded, the amendment instead would have resulted in more categories of food being taxed than currently are under existing law. The mistake was caught, and another House committee that handles procedural matters voted to send the bill back to the Ways and Means Committee to correct the issue.
Women Legislators of Missouri Scholarship
The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus is sponsoring one-time $1,000 scholarships for young women graduating from high school in Missouri. Applicants must be a female Missouri resident who is currently a high school senior and will be graduating from a public high school, private high school or home school in Missouri this year. The deadline for submission an application is March 24, 2022. More information can be found online myscholarshipcentral.org.
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||Hearing Conducted by Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 718||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Motion to Pass Bill as Consent Taken and Adopted by Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|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||Hearing Conducted 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||Hearing Conducted Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|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||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1130||Modifies provisions relating to earned compliance credits for probation||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1145||Establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week” in Missouri||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1146||Modifies provisions relating to organ donation||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1147||Requires the MO HealthNet Division to conduct an annual review of services available for enrollees with sickle cell disease||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1172||Modifies provisions relating to sales tax revenues for certain transportation authorities||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1193||Modifies provisions relating to electric vehicle tax credits||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1194||Modifies provisions relating to voter registration||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1195||Modifies provisions relating to the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1196||Modifies provisions relating to a tax credit for providing services to homeless persons||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1205||Modifies provisions relating to the certification of juveniles for trial as an adult||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1230||Modifies provisions relating to expungement of criminal records||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Concurrent Resolution 35||Establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week”||Second Read and Referred 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|
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