Sen. Barbara Anne Washington’s Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 3, 2022 – Missouri Senate

2022 Legislative Session Kicks-Off

The Second Regular Session of the 101st General Assembly began on Jan. 5. The usual four-and-half-month marathon that is the Missouri General Assembly’s annual legislative session promises to be a busy one, as lawmakers must create and pass a new congressional map before candidate filing for the 2022 election opens in February and pass a supplemental appropriations bill, which was requested by the governor, before the end of January.

Missouri’s eight congressional districts must be redrawn every 10 years to reflect population shifts under the most recent U.S. Census. Normally, lawmakers would have undertaken the job during the 2021 legislative session. However, since the detailed census data needed for redistricting didn’t become available until this past fall due to pandemic-related delays, the task got kicked until 2022. The delay puts lawmakers in a tight spot since candidate filing for the Aug. 2 party primaries for Congress and other elected offices opens Feb. 22.

Lawmakers will also be pressed to pass a supplemental spending bill to increase pay for state workers, a measure the governor said he wants in place in time for the raises to take effect Feb. 1. The governor wants to provide all state employees with a 5.5% raise, while also establishing a $15-an-hour minimum wage for state jobs. Missouri ranks last in the nation in state worker pay, and the governor said the poor wages are making it difficult to fill state government jobs.

Another budget issue awaiting lawmakers is fully funding the state’s Medicaid program. In July, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the validity of a 2020 state constitutional amendment expanding eligibility for the program. Last year, attempts were made to thwart expansion by refusing to appropriate the funding – primarily provided by the federal government – needed to pay for services to additional recipients. The high court ruled that while the amendment doesn’t require lawmakers to increase Medicaid appropriations, the state can’t refuse to provide services to the expanded population.

Since the court required the state to enroll the expanded population last summer, lawmakers will either have to boost appropriations for the remaining months of the fiscal year or risk the program running out of spending authority. The Legislature also must allocate billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds that are set to expire in 2022 if not spent soon.

State Senate and House Redistricting Process Continues

As the General Assembly prepares to tackle congressional redistricting, the process for redrawing state Senate and House districts continues. As opposed to congressional districts, which are drawn by the Legislature, state legislative districts are drawn by two redistricting commissions. Both Senate and House commissions consist of 20 members, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with 14 votes required for a commission to approve a redistricting plan.

The Senate commission failed to submit a tentative plan by the deadline. As a result, a panel of six appellate judges appointed by the Supreme Court will take over the job of drawing the new Senate districts. Meanwhile, the House commission continues its work. Although the commissioners have agreed on new House districts for most of Missouri, disagreements remain regarding district boundaries for Boone, Greene, Jackson and St. Louis counties. The House commission now must agree to a single House plan no later than Jan. 23 or turn the job over to the Court to draw the House districts as well.

State of the State Address Set for Jan. 19

The governor will deliver the 2022 State of the State address before a joint session of the Missouri General Assembly on Jan. 19. During the annual speech, the governor is expected to announce his policy agenda for the year and unveil his proposed state operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Special License Plate

During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 189, which I sponsored. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 are 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 2 (2211 Charlotte St., KCMO 64108) or University Health Lakewood Medical Center (7900 Lee’s Summit Road, KCMO 64139). The COVID-19 vaccine is available to children 5-12 at these two locations as well. Established 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.

Senator Washington’s Sponsored Legislation for 2022

Bill Number Description Status
Senate Bill 717 Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 718 Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 719 Authorizes a tax credit for the purchase of certain homes First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 793 Creates provisions relating to expungement for certain marijuana offenses First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 794 Modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 795 Modifies provisions relating to law enforcement officer use of force First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 854 Modifies provisions relating to reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 855 Establishes the “Cronkite New Voices Act” to protect the freedom of press in school-sponsored media First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 856 Modifies provisions relating to the expungement of records First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 896 Modifies provisions relating to probation and parole for certain offenders First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 897 Authorizes a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 898 Allows a museum property tax levy to be used for certain museums First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 994 Creates new provisions prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles First read in the Senate
Senate Bill 995 Modifies provisions relating to parole eligibility First read in the Senate
Senate Joint Resolution 42 Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties First read in the Senate
Senate Joint Resolution 43 Places limits on increases of the assessment of certain properties First read in the Senate

# # #

Source link

Related Posts