|Week of March 7, 2022|
Starts and Stalls in Missouri Senate
On March 8, the Senate granted preliminary approval to a proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 38, which would empower the Legislature to force Kansas City to spend more of its budget on the city’s police department without providing state funding. A second vote is required to advance the measure to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation awaits debate. Along similar lines, the Senate also passed and sent to the Missouri House of Representatives Senate Bill 678. This measure requires Kansas City spend one-fourth, rather than the current one-fifth, of its general revenue on policing.
The Senate also began discussing Senate Bill 775 this week. The legislation modifies provisions relating to sexual offenses and makes several changes to the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. As the Senate debated the issue, a senator attempted to add an amendment to the bill to criminalize “obscene” material in schools. The amendment was characterized by some as attempting to derail the underlying legislation aiming to help sexual assault survivors. Unable to find a way forward on the amendment, SB 775 was eventually laid over without ever receiving a vote. The following day, a press conference was held where SB 775’s sponsor called for an end to the filibustering and the use of procedural motions which have delayed Senate action on a host of important issues since the start of session.
House Again Seeks to Impose Photo Voter ID Requirement
The Missouri House of Representatives passed two measures seeking to make voting contingent on having a valid, government-issued photo identification.
House Bill 1878 would add the requirement to state law, while House Joint Resolution 94 would enshrine the requirement in the state constitution. Both pieces of legislation now head to the Senate. If either measure is approved by the General Assembly before the end of the legislative session in mid-May, they will likely face a court challenge.
The Legislature has previously enacted voter ID requirements, but the Missouri Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional both times. Since voting is a fundamental right, the state high court has said any restrictions on it are subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny. In the prior cases, the state Supreme Court noted the only type of fraud a photo voter ID requirement could prevent is voter impersonation at the polls, yet there has never been a documented case of it in the state.
Charter School Funding, Open Enrollment Bills Win Approval
The House of Representatives on March 9 passed pair of education bills that separately would modify how independent charter schools receive public funding and give students more leeway to attend public schools districts other than the one in which they live. Both bills now advance to the Senate.
Lawmakers voted 85-67 in favor of House Bill 1552, which would establish a new formula for determining how much local funding a public school district must allocate to charter schools in their jurisdiction. Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of a local school district and are exempt from many state education regulations. They currently are authorized only in St. Louis and Kansas City. Supporters say the bill would establish more equitable funding for charter schools, while opponents maintain it would unfairly siphon revenue from traditional public schools. Although the Kansas City Public School District is supportive of the change, the St. Louis district isn’t.
The other measure, House Bill 1814, would establish a voluntary open enrollment program that would allow students in one district to transfer to another participating district, subject to space and staffing limitations.
Legislation Would Give Lawmakers a Say on Initiative Petitions
Missouri lawmakers would have the power to change proposed ballot measures before they go before voters under a proposed constitutional amendment the House of Representatives advanced to the Senate on March 10. If the Senate also approves the measure, it would go the Nov. 8 statewide ballot and require support from just a simple majority for ratification.
At present, measures proposed by Missourians through the initiative petition process automatically go on the statewide ballot for voter consideration, if they can collect the requisite number of signatures from Missouri voters. Under House Joint Resolution 91, however, once signatures were submitted on an initiative proposing a constitutional amendment, the Legislature would have the opportunity to modify the proposed constitutional language. If the initiative sponsor accepted the changes, voters could ratify the measure with simple majority of votes cast. If the sponsor opted to go with the original version, a two-thirds majority of votes cast would be needed. House Joint Resolution 91 also increases the signature requirements to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.
House Approves Allowing Guns in Churches and on Buses
People with a permit to carry a concealed weapon could bring their guns into churches and other houses of worship under legislation approved by the House of Representatives on March 9.
House Bill 1462 would repeal an existing law that prohibits carrying a concealed weapon into a place of worship without permission. The bill also would create a statutory right for conceal-carry permit holders to bring their weapons on public transportation. Other provisions of the bill would lower the minimum age for obtaining a conceal-carry permit from 19 to 18 and make it a crime to engage in celebratory gunfire. The bill now advances to the Senate.
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||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||On Senate Consent Calendar|
|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||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||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1130||Modifies provisions relating to earned compliance credits for probation||Second Read and Referred to 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||Second Read and Referred to Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1146||Modifies provisions relating to organ donation||Second Read and Referred to 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||Second Read and Referred to 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||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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