|Week of May 9, 2022|
A Success End to Session
In the final week of the 2022 legislative session, several of my priority pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly.
On May 10, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1720, an agriculture omnibus bill. Contained within the bill is legislation I sponsored authorizing a tax credit equal to 50% of the expenses incurred in the construction, development or improvement of an urban farm in an urban area. The tax credit is capped at $5,000 per urban farm and is not transferable or refundable, but may be carried forward for three years. This tax credit will increase agricultural production and education in our urban communities where farming and food production has not been taught like it should have. I’m proud to have carried this legislation for the past five years and to finally see it cross the finish line.
The General Assembly also passed Senate Bill 718, which I sponsored. This bill includes a number of higher education related provisions, but at the heart of it is a desire to recognize the important role our state’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) play in educating the next generation of Missourians. The bill designates the third week of September of every year as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri. Also included in SB 718 is legislation to allow coaches and other school personal to assist college athletes in receiving compensation for the use of the student’s name, image, likeness or athletic reputation. This measure builds on the name, image and likeness legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021, and I believe is a win for student athletes.
Also heading to the governor’s desk is Senate Bill 710, dealing with health care. Included in this bill is legislation I sponsored to designate the third full week in September each year as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week.”
Senate Finalizes New Congressional Redistricting Plan
On May 12, the Senate voted to send a congressional redistricting plan to the governor and then adjourned a day ahead of the constitutional adjournment deadline. The late-session action allows Missouri to have new congressional districts in place for the Aug. 2 primary election.
As the Senate moved through the final week of session, the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting had yet to hear House Bill 2909. This prompted the use of a rarely used procedure to bring the bill directly the chamber for debate. Since the Senate made no changes to the bill, which the House approved days earlier, it goes straight to governor, for his consideration.
The Legislature had to redraw the state’s congressional map to reflect population shifts under the 2020 U.S. Census. But since a new plan wasn’t in place when the candidate filing period ended in March, candidates filed under the outdated congressional map adopted in 2011, sparking at least three lawsuits in state and federal courts seeking to block its use. If lawmakers had failed to enact a redistricting plan, the task would have fallen to a three-judge panel of federal judges.
House Approves Photo Voter ID, Other Election Changes
On May 12, the House of Representatives granted final passage to legislation that would impose a photo voter identification requirement, grant the secretary of state the power to withhold state funding from local election officials and eliminate Missouri’s presidential primary election, among other provisions. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for his consideration.
House Bill 1878 would also create a two-week period prior to an election in which Missourians could cast an absentee ballot without offering an excuse. Under existing law, voters must have a statutorily authorized reason for why they can’t vote in person on Election Day in order to vote absentee.
Compromise Charter School Funding Bill Wins Final Passage
On May 12, the House of Representatives granted final passage to legislation that would increase state funding for charter schools without taking resources from the Kansas City and St. Louis school districts. The Senate previously voted in favor of the measure, which now goes to the governor.
The final version of House Bill 1552 calls for adjusting the statutory formula for distributing state funding to local schools so that charter schools would receive additional funding without reducing the amount of money going to the local districts. The plan, the result of a compromise reached in the Senate, would cost about $62 million in additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year. As originally proposed, the bill would have redirected millions of dollars in state funding from the Kansas City and St. Louis school districts to the charter schools in their jurisdictions.
Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of their local school district and are exempt from many state education regulations. At present, they are allowed to operate only in Kansas City and St. Louis.
HB 1552 also includes reforms to how charter schools operate, such as requiring they be run by a nonprofit entity and a mandate that only Missouri residents can be charter school board members. In addition, the bill also updates the rules for operating online virtual schools.
House Defeats Attempt to Limit Teaching about Racism
On a bipartisan vote of 60-81, the House of Representatives rejected legislation that sought to restrict teaching about how race and racism is discussed in public schools. House Joint Resolution 110 proposed adding a so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” to the Missouri Constitution. Supporters said it would protect the ability of parents to direct their child’s education and object to the teaching of ideas they find objectionable. Opponents said it was a thinly veiled attempt to eliminate teaching about unpleasant aspects of American history and society and empower some individual parents to dictate what all children are taught.
Initiative Petitions Filed on Recreational Marijuana, Ranked-Choice Voting
Supporters of separate initiative petitions to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri and create a system of ranked-choice voting for state and federal elections turned in signatures by the May 8 deadline in hopes of getting their proposals on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot. The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office must now verify that each petition has sufficient signatures to go before voters.
The recreational marijuana measure follows up on a successful 2019 initiative petition that legalized pot for medical use. In addition to legalizing recreational marijuana use for those age 21 and over, it also would automatically expunge past convictions for marijuana-related crimes – other than driving under the influence – for non-violent offenders.
Under the elections initiative, candidates for the state Legislature, statewide executive branch office or Congress would appear on the same primary ballot without regard to party, with the top four candidates advancing to the general election. During that election, voters could vote for multiple candidates, ranking who they like best in order of preference. If no candidate received a majority on the first tabulation, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated and their votes redistributed among the other candidates based on each voter’s preference. That process would continue until a winner emerged.
The signature verification process typically takes months, but there is an expedited process the secretary of state can use to get it done it couple weeks. If that process is used, it’s possible the petitions could be verified in time for the governor to exercise his authority to move one or both measures to the Aug. 2 primary ballot.
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 for children ages 5-12 at these two locations as well. 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||Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed|
|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||Formal Calendar for Senate Bills for Perfection|
|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||Voted Do Pass by Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1130||Modifies provisions relating to earned compliance credits for probation||Voted Do Pass by 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||Voted Do Pass by Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 1146||Modifies provisions relating to organ donation||Voted Do Pass by 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||Voted Do Pass by 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||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Bill 1230||Modifies provisions relating to expungement of criminal records||Second Read and Referred to Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee|
|Senate Concurrent Resolution 35||Establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week”||Voted Do Pass by House Rules – Administrative Oversight 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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