|Week of Jan. 24, 2022|
The Missouri Senate Prepares for Redistricting Debate
As the Missouri Senate prepared to debate the once-in-a-decade issue of congressional redistricting, a group of senators held the floor for several hours this week to raise objections to legislation moving forward that would likely preserve the current partisan makeup of the state’s congressional delegation.
The full Senate had been expected to take up the redistricting bill, House Bill 2117, on Jan. 26, one day after the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting voted 9-5 in favored of it. However, several senators took control of the Senate floor to discuss the redistricting process and the proposed maps. After a lengthy discussion, the chamber ultimately adjourned for the day without ever formally taking up the bill.
The Senate could debate the redistricting bill as soon as Jan. 31. If the measure passes without changes, it would go straight to the governor to be signed into law. Since the House was not able to adopt the bill’s emergency clause allowing it to take effect immediately upon being signed into law, it won’t take effect until Aug. 28 – nearly four weeks after the Aug. 2 congressional primary elections. With candidate filing set to open Feb. 22, I believe the timing issue still needs to be resolved before we can move forward.
Commission Finalizes New Districts for Missouri House
On Jan. 19, the independent commission charged with drawing new state House of Representatives districts finalized a redistricting plan that will be used for the next decade. The unanimous agreement marks the first redistricting cycle since 1991 that the bipartisan commission was able to successfully redraw Missouri’s 163 House districts.
Supreme Court appoints Appellate Redistricting Commission
The Missouri Supreme Court has appointed a commission of six appellate judges to draw new state Senate districts after the bipartisan commission appointed by the governor was unable to reach a consensus on the issue. Under the Missouri Constitution, the Appellate Redistricting Commission has until April 23 to finalize 34 new Senate districts that reflect population shifts over the previous decade. As a practical matter, however, the commission needs to complete the job before candidate filing for the Aug. 2 party primary elections opens on Feb. 23.
Attorney General Sues 45 School Districts over Masking Rules
The Missouri attorney general has filed 45 separate lawsuits against local public school districts seeking to block mask mandates put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. Many districts, however, have pushed back, noting their actions are authorized under state law, while the attorney general claims otherwise. The courts have yet to take action on the lawsuits.
Food Drive Success
I recently partnered with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Omega Chapter to host a food drive in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For the past eight years, I have been a part of this food drive, and together this year, we were able to donate a truck bed full of baby-care needs, nonperishable foods and personal hygiene products.
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 are 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||Second Read and Referred to Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 718||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Hearing Conducted by the 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||Second Read and Referred to 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||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 995||Modifies provisions relating to parole eligibility||First read in the Senate|
|Senate Bill 1094||Modifies provisions relating to wrongful convictions||First read in the Senate|
|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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