Over the past weekend, I attended several events celebrating Women’s History Month, starting with my own Pioneering Black Women’s Day event. Pioneering Black Women’s Day was created by a bill I passed last year honoring the first African American woman to serve in the Missouri Senate, Gwen B. Giles. I attended another Pioneering Black Women’s Day event in the community as well.
I also took part in an event marking the 170th anniversary of the 1852 Dred Scott decision. This decision by the Missouri Supreme Court denied Dred Scott’s family their freedom from slavery. Even after the Missouri ruling, the Scotts would continue their quest for freedom and equality all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the nation’s highest court would rule in an infamous decision that American citizenship did not include Black people enslaved or free, and ultimately fanned the flames leading to the Civil War. I deeply appreciated the opportunity to mark this solemn occasion with members of the St. Louis community, as we acknowledge the mistakes of the past and look toward building a better tomorrow for all.
On the Floor
The hot-button issue of congressional redistricting became a game of legislative ping pong this week in the Missouri General Assembly, as the two legislative chambers bounced a redistricting map back and forth in search of a path forward.
On March 24, the Missouri Senate passed a modified version of House Bill 2117, sending it back to the Missouri House of Representatives for further consideration. This week, the House rejected those changes and asked for a conference committee in order for lawmakers to work on the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. However, when the House’s request for conference committee was sent to the Senate, it was rejected, sending the issue back to the House. On March 31, the House once again refused to accept to the Senate’s changes and asked for another conference committee. It remains to be seen whether the Senate will agree to go to conference this time around.
While progress on the congressional maps remains uncertain, several Senate bills did manage to move through the Legislature’s upper chamber and are now heading to the Missouri House of Representatives.
- Senate Bill 807 modifying provisions relating to corporations.
- Senate Bill 710 requires nurses in school districts and charter schools to develop individualized health care plans for students with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
- Senate Bill 834 requires the Department of Corrections to establish a correctional center nursery in one or more of the correctional centers for women by July 1, 2025.
- Senate Bill 775, 751 and 640 modifies provisions relating to sexual offenses, including updating the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights.
Bills and Committees
Sen. May’s Legislation:
In the Senate’s Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, I presented Senate Bill 837 for consideration. This legislation changes the law relating to the statute of limitations for certain sexual offenses. This act adds the offenses of sexual abuse in the first degree, attempted sexual abuse in the first degree, sexual abuse in the second degree, attempted sexual abuse in the second degree, incest and attempted incest to the list of offenses without a statute of limitations. I hope this legislation will help promote commonsense sentencing standards, as well as protect victims.
Commerce Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee
The Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee met on March 30 to discuss two pieces of legislation
- Senate Bill 1080 requires the Public Service Commission to permit electrical corporations and gas corporations to recover certain workforce development investments.
- Senate Bill 910 allows processed recycled asphalt shingles to be used for fill, reclamation or other beneficial purposes without any permits relating to solid waste management or any permits relating to the Missouri Clean Water Law under certain circumstances.
Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee
The Senate’s Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee heard several pieces of legislation this week
- Senate Bill 1185 designates every January 12th as “Rush Limbaugh Day.”
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 22 urges the United States Congress to reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling for meat.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 establishes the third full week in September as “Sickle Cell Awareness Week.”
- Senate Bill 1040 creates procedures for the appointment of commissioners to a convention of states called under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 30 calls for a constitutional convention led by the states to propose term limits for members of Congress.
Appropriations Bills Head to House Floor for Debate
On April 1, the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bills were reported out the House Budget Committee and placed on the House debate calendar. A technical session scheduled for Sunday in the House will allow those bills to meet the “sitting” requirement so the bills can be taken up on Monday. During debate in the House, lawmakers are expected to propose a variety of amendments to the budget bills. The General Assembly faces a constitutional deadline of passing a balanced state operating budget no later than May 6.
Department of Economic Development Now Hiring for ARPA-Funded Positions
The Department of Economic Development (DED) is now hiring for grant-funded positions to support initiatives through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
New staff members are needed for the operation of several initiatives, including grant programs for businesses, nonprofits, community development, broadband infrastructure and more. DED expects to hire more than a dozen ARPA-funded roles in Fiscal Year 2022 and additional roles in Fiscal Year 2023. These positions will assist in building programs, providing technical assistance and ensuring efficient deployment of funds. Positions will be located in Jefferson City, with potential for other locations across the state for some roles.
All who are interested are encouraged to view available positions and apply online at mocareers.mo.gov. Details on planned investments using ARPA funds are available at ded.mo.gov/arpa. For more information on DED, visit ded.mo.gov.
Find Employment with the State of Missouri
Interested in working for the state? Missouri has numerous career opportunities available for those interested. By visiting mocareers.mo.gov, interested applicants can search by agency or position or location. This week, I would like to highlight opportunities with the Missouri Department of Mental (DMH). Previously, I worked with individuals with disabilities as a DMH employee for six years, and it was rewarding work. If you enjoy working with others, this may be a good fit for you. To learn more about the department, please visit dmh.mo.gov.