Sen. Barbara Anne Washington’s Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 25, 2021

Week of January 25, 2021

On January 20, Americans witnessed history being made. That day, we saw the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, as well as the swearing in of the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American vice president in U.S. history. I am inspired by what I saw on Inauguration Day, and I hope other Americans are too. This landmark inauguration reminds us of how far we have come as a country, and how much further we have to go. Echoing the sentiment of the president, we are at the start of a new, exciting day in this country, but challenges remain. From combatting COVID-19, to addressing racial injustice and repairing our economy, we have a lot of work to do, but I am confident we can solve these issues if we can come together and unite as Americans.

The Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, heard Senate Bill 1, which 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. It leverages a fee paid by hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and other health care providers to draw down federal Medicaid funds. Every dollar raised from health care providers is paid back at a higher rate through a federal match. All told, Missouri’s FRA funds more than $1 billion of Missouri’s Medicaid program every year. Given that voters approved Medicaid expansion last year, it is vital the state continue to have access to these funds and that the FRA is extended. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted do pass on Senate Bill 1. It now moves to the Senate floor for debate.

On January 27, lawmakers from both the House and Senate heard from the governor during his annual State of the State Address. During his speech, the governor discussed the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as workforce development and infrastructure initiatives for the year ahead. Additionally, the governor announced the consolidation of several early childhood programs across state government into a single Office of Childhood. The new office will be housed within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and provide a comprehensive approach to early childhood care and education.

Each week I will provide updates on COVID-19 information. Currently, 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.

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.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Mu Omega Chapter is hosting a free COVID-19 Vaccination Community Forum via Zoom. The forum will be held on Sunday, January 31, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and will allow individuals to have their COVID-19 questions answered by doctors. For more information, please contact the Mu Omega Chapter.

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 (573) 751-3158.

Senator Washington’s Sponsored Legislation for 2021

Bill Number Description Status
Senate Bill 82 Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert Second read and referred to 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 Second read and referred to 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 Second read and referred to Senate Progress and Development 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 First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 419 Relating to use of force by law enforcement officers First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 420 Relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 434 Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 440 Modifies provisions relating to juvenile detention First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 441 Establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 446 Modifies provisions relating to the certification of juveniles for trial as an adult First read in the Senate
Senate Joint Resolution 17 Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties First read in the Senate

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