|Week of March 8, 2021|
The Missouri Senate dedicated part of the week to discussing two tax proposals.
The first tax bill discussed was Senate Bill 24. While the legislation contains several tax-related provisions, SB 24’s main component would reduce personal property taxes, which are a key source of funding for local governments. The bill requires personal property tax rates to be decreased annually until reaching a miniscule rate of one-thousandth of a percent. When the bill came up for a vote on Monday, March 8, it failed to receive an initial round of approval by the Senate. Later in the week, however, the failed approval vote was reconsidered, and SB 24 was revived.
The second tax bill the Senate debated would increase Missouri’s motor fuel tax for the first time since 1996. Senate Bill 262 increases the fuel tax by 2.5 cents in October 2021, and continues to increase it by 2.5 cents in each year until reaching an additional 12.5 cents per gallon on July 1, 2025. The legislation also includes a rebate provision, which allows Missouri drivers who keep gas receipts for passenger vehicles weighing less than 26,000 pounds to request a full refund of the additional taxes paid. The legislation aims to ensure adequate funding for Missouri’s roads and bridges.
The end of the week brought lawmakers to the midway point of the nearly five-month long legislative session. As we now move into the second half of session, I expect the following bills to be discussed on the Senate floor as they have been placed in a position for full Senate debate:
- Senate Bill 1 extends the sunset of Missouri’s federal reimbursement allowances (FRA) from September 30, 2021, to September 30, 2023. The FRA is an important funding mechanism for MO HealthNet, our state’s Medicaid program, and allows the state to draw down federal dollars to support the program. As the state looks to implement voter-approved Medicaid expansion, it is vital Missouri continue to have access to these funds and that the FRA is extended.
- Senate Bills 53 & 60 removes the residency requirement for Kansas City Police officers. The bill also bans the use of respiratory chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized, and allows officers who engage in sexual conduct with an individual in custody to be charged with a Class E felony.
- Senate Bill 55 opens up additional opportunities for Missouri students to pursue their education outside of the traditional public school setting. The bill permits charter schools, currently only allowed to operate in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, to expand to any school district located within a charter county as well as in any municipality with a population greater than 30,000. Another provision of SB 55 establishes a tax credit program to fund scholarships to help offset the costs of students attending schools outside of the student’s local public school district.
The Barbara Anne Washington Women Making History Award
I am humbled to announce that the Metropolitan Community College has created a scholarship named in my honor. I am a proud supporter of the Metropolitan Community College and have served on its Board of Trustees representing Subdistrict 3 since 2016.
Each week I will provide updates on COVID-19 information. As of March 15, COVID-19 vaccinations are being provided to individuals who are eligible under the following phases of the state’s vaccine distribution plan:
- Phase 1A – patient-facing health care workers as well as residents and staff in long-term care facilities.
- Phase 1B Tier 1 – first responders, emergency services workers and non-patient facing health care workers.
- Phase 1B Tier 2 – high-risk individuals, such as anyone age 65 and older and adults with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity (BMI >40), pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome.
- Phase 1B Tier 3 – Teachers, faculty and staff in public, private and nonprofit pre K – 12; faculty and staff in a DHSS or DSS-licensed facility providing basic care to children; employees of certain food production and processing facilities, including grocery and convenience stores; and others providing essential services.
If you fall into any of these categories, 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 Missouri’s vaccine distribution plan, please visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.
Vaccinations are already underway in our community. For instance, Truman Medical Centers is currently focusing on reaching out to eligible patients to schedule vaccine appointments, starting with those who are 65 and older as doses become available. As they vaccinate these individuals and medical staff throughout the community, they are asking for the public’s continued patience. Please feel free to contact them by visiting their website or by calling (816) 404-2273.
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 legislation, 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 82||Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert||Hearing Conducted in 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||Second read and referred to 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||Hearing Conducted House Emerging Issues Committee|
|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||Voted Do Pass by Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 440||Modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention||Second read and referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 441||Establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force||Hearing Conducted 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.||Second read and referred to 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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