House Committee Advances Congressional Redistricting Bill
On Jan. 12, the House Special Committee on Redistricting approved a plan to redraw Missouri’s eight congressional districts to reflect population shifts under the 2020 U.S. Census. The full Missouri House of Representatives is expected to debate the bill in the coming weeks, with the intent of advancing it to the Senate not long after.
Lawmakers must have new congressional districts in place before candidate filing for the Aug. 2 primary elections opens on Feb. 22. Normally, redistricting would have been completed during the 2021 legislative session, but the pandemic slowed the release of detailed census data needed to complete the task. Even if lawmakers pass the redistricting bill by the deadline, it would require an emergency clause in order to take effect in time for filing. Without one, pursuant to the state constitution, the bill wouldn’t take effect until Aug. 28, weeks after the primaries. Not only would an emergency clause require the support of two-thirds majorities in both chambers – itself an uncertain outcome – it is questionable whether the bill meets the narrow constitutional standard to warrant including an emergency clause.
House Committee Hears Bills Banning Teaching CRT, 1619 Project
On Jan. 11, parents, students and educators packed a House hearing to testify on legislation regarding a “parents’ bill of rights.” House Bill 1995 allows parents to object to their child being taught topics they deem as “divisive or controversial.” Since the bill doesn’t define those terms, what is consider “divisive or controversial” is purely subjective. Schools could face civil penalties of up to $5,000 for violations, in addition to being required to pay the parents’ attorney fees. Another measure, House Bill 1474, prohibits public and charter schools from using curriculum or materials that support or promote critical race theory and the 1619 Project.
Those opposed to the bills packed two House hearing rooms and overflowed into the surrounding hallways. Only a relative few testified in favor of the bills. In addition, more than a thousand people submitted online testimony, primarily in opposition. The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee took no immediate action on either bill, but is expected to vote on them at a later date.
Kansas City Public Schools Receive Full Accreditation
On Jan. 11, the State Board of Education voted to classify Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) as fully accredited, effective immediately. The vote followed a presentation by staff at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) outlining the district’s student growth in academics, as well as improved instructional systems and processes and stability in district leadership.
This accomplishment has been long in the making, and I am incredibly proud to see all of the district’s hard work finally pay off. It’s been more than 20 years since the district was last fully accredited. Since that time, however, we have seen impressive gains at KCPS through the implementation of innovative solutions, community involvement and the hard work by teachers and students alike. I hope they keep up the good work, and I look forward to working with KCPS to continue building on this positive momentum.
Net State General Revenue Up 4.7% In FY 2022
Net state general revenue collections for the first half of the 2022 fiscal year were up 4.7% compared to the same period in FY 2021, going from $5.44 billion last year to $5.7 billion this year, according to data provided by the Missouri Division of Budget and Planning.
Robust sales tax collections helped contributed to a strong December, which saw net general revenue increase 31.9% compared to December 2020, going from $904.3 million last year to $1.19 billion this year. Sales tax revenue increased 35% in December 2021 compared to December 2020. Although corporate income tax revenue was up 9.9% for the month compared to the prior year, individual income tax collections decreased 4.5%.
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 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 (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.
|Senate Bill 717||Authorizes a tax credit for urban farms located in a food desert||Second Read and Referred to Senate Economic Development Committee|
|Senate Bill 718||Designates the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri||Second Read and Referred to Senate Progress and Development Committee|
|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||Second Read and Referred to 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||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|
# # #