On the Floor
It was another week of late nights and long debates on the Senate floor.
On May 3, the Senate moved forward with House Bill 1878, a wide-ranging election bill. One of the biggest changes it makes to our election laws is enacting a voter ID requirement. It is important to note that the Missouri Supreme Court has previously ruled twice that voter ID requirements have been unconstitutional as enacted by the General Assembly. Among other provisions, the bill prevents changes being made to the state’s election laws in the 26 weeks leading up to a presidential election, bans the use of private money for the administration of an election and prohibits the use of drop boxes for the delivery of absentee ballots. While I have some concerns about several provisions of the bill, I’m pleased to say it would create a no-excuse absentee voting period two weeks prior to an election. Once the Senate takes a final vote, the bill will return to the House of Representatives, which can either accept the Senate changes or seek to negotiate a compromise on the bill.
On May 4, the Missouri Senate worked through the night and until the early morning the following day on several pieces of legislation. House Bill 2400 modifies provisions relating to professional employer organizations. The Senate worked through over a dozen amendments to the bill, before ultimately passing the bill. House Bill 2400 now heads back to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Later that night, the Senate took up House Bill 2005, dealing with eminent domain, which is a tool allowing governments and certain utilities to acquire private land for public use. This legislation requires compensation for agriculture or horticulture land to be 150% of fair market value. Through this legislation, supporters hope to protect the property rights of Missourians during eminent domain proceedings going forward.
The General Assembly also passed the operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year. Throughout the week, conference committees comprised of members from both chambers met to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bills. After all the conference committee reports were completed, they were sent to the floor for final passage in both chambers.
There’s only one week left in the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to end on May 13 at 6 p.m.
Bills and Committees
Sen. May’s Legislation:
This week, my Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 was approved by the House Rules – Administrative Oversight Committee and sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration. This resolution recognizes a need for mental health awareness training for high school students in public and charter schools.
Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee:
The Senate’s Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee continues reviewing House bills, hearing two bills on May 2:
- House Bill 2032 establishes and modifies provisions relating to child trafficking.
- House Bill 2307 assesses an additional $5,000 dollar fine for human trafficking offenses and establishes the “Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Fund.”
Commerce Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee:
The Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee met on May 4 to discuss House Bill 1861. This legislation provides that no hospital, physician, procurement organization or other person may consider COVID-19 vaccination status of a potential organ transplant recipient or donor at any stage in organ transplant processing, among other provisions.
Voters to Decide Whether to Create New State Department
Missouri voters will decide later this year whether to create a Missouri Department of the National Guard after the Senate voted to put the question on a statewide ballot. The House of Representatives had previously approved the measure, House Joint Resolution 116, a month ago.
Currently, the Guard is part of the Department of Public Safety, but by law it operates independently of that agency and the adjutant general already reports directly to the governor. The proposed constitutional amendment will go on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, although the governor could exercise his authority to put the measure on the Aug. 2 primary ballot. Missouri currently has 16 state departments.
St. Louis Job Fair
The City of St. Louis Department of Personnel will be hosting a job fair on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The job fair will be held at Friendly Temple Church Youth Worship Center, 5544 Martin Luther King. Jr. Drive, St. Louis, MO 63112. There are immediate career openings with the City of St. Louis, and during the job fair, individuals can meet with department representatives to learn more.
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 throughout the rest of 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.
4th Senatorial Town Hall Meetings
Please join me as I will be traveling throughout the district during the month of May. First meeting will be this Saturday, May 7. See the flyer for details.