Capitol Report: February 19, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about what is and is not considered a right in the United States. Things that are not rights in this country include:

  • a child’s right to a nourishing meal
  • a worker’s right to a living wage
  • a citizen’s right to basic healthcare

Last Wednesday, we saw a horrific slaughter of children and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Along with the rest of the country, I am grieving this terrible event. This grief makes me even more committed to ensuring every child in this country is safe.

This past week, I was added to the Committee on Children and Families. If you stop by my office and I’m not there, chances are I’ll be in a committee meeting!

My survey is available, I hope every constituent uses this opportunity to share their views with me!

In this issue:

  • House Happenings
  • In the Community
  • Announcements
  • Events

House Happenings

As of this writing, the Missouri House has taken votes on 42 bills. Some of the bills we passed out this week include:
  • HB 1409, which cuts unemployment benefits from 20 to 13 weeks. Most states have unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks of unemployment; if you lose your job in Missouri you will be entitled only to half as much time if this bill is signed into law
  • HB 1620, which allows for needle exchanges. This is an innovative way to reach drug users (and hopefully get them into treatment) while cutting down on diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV.
We had an amazing debate on HB 1649, which increases penalties for injuring police dogs while giving their handlers greater immunity from prosecution. Several African-American Representatives stood up and spoke against it, including Gail McCann Beatty (D) and Shamed Dogan (R), who both stood up to talk about how the bill would disproportionately harms the African-American community. Dogan pointed out that under this bill, the penalties for injuring a police dog would be worse than the penalties for rape or for injuring a nursing home patient. What makes this debate amazing is that it changed votes. Before the debate, the bill passed its first vote in the House overwhelmingly; however, on the second vote in the House, it failed by 10 votes.
On Wednesday, the Missouri House debated HB 1630 , which would raise the legal age of marriage in Missouri. Currently, there is no minimum age for marriage in Missouri if a judge signs off, and a 15 year old only needs parental permission to get married. This bill would add a minimum age of 15 with a judge’s signature, or 17 without a signature. I was disgusted by the number of people who were arguing in favor of shotgun marriages and with the arguments that I heard from elected officials who believe it is better for a child to get married than engage in premarital sex. This bill will be up for a vote this week.
You can see a full listing of House actions by date .
I had two bills pass out of committee this week. The first is HB 1803 , which gives schools flexibility in deciding whether to call police for some assaults (current law requires them to call police). I was instrumental in drafting this bill, but Rep. Matthiessen filed it. The second is HB 1984 , which specifies that the first $100,000 in an individual’s ABLE account is exempt from asset limits for the Blind Pension. This was amended in the Budget committee onto Rep. Wood’s HB 2171 , which also relates to the Blind Pension program.
The House Elementary and Secondary Education committee voted out a charter school bill, HB 2247 . This bill would allow a charter school to open in any school district in Missouri, without increasing the accountability measures for charter schools. charter schools are privately-run schools that are publicly funded. The next step for this bill is a hearing in the Rules committee; a hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Committees are in full swing by now, hearing and voting out bills. View upcoming committee hearings. After bills go through committee, they go to a Rules committee (there are 2) to get another look before they go to the Floor.

In the Community

 

I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job! I am busy planning town halls, including a large one on April 7. Save the date!

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!


Committees

The committees I am on are:

Announcements

 

April Elections

Candidates have filed to run in the April general election.
The polls will be open 6AM-7PM on Election Day, April 3, 2018.

Crestwood

  • Aldermanic Seat (4 seats)

Marlborough

  • Board of Trustees seat (2 seats).

Shrewsbury

  • Mayor
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward I
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward II
  • Aldermanic Seat — Ward III

Webster Groves

  • Mayor
  • City Council (3 seats)
  • League of Women Voters will be holding a candidate forum on March 13 at 7:00 pm at the Webster Groves Rec Center (33 E Glendale)

There will not be an April election in the wards I represent in St. Louis City (16 and 23).

Scholarship Opportunity

Women Legislators of Missouri are encouraging young women set to graduate from high school to apply for a $500 college scholarship. Each year the group selects one student from each of Missouri’s congressional districts to receive the award. Members hope to spread the word about the scholarship opportunity so that female students from all parts of the state will apply.

This is a great opportunity for any young woman who is interested in continuing her educational career to receive some valuable financial assistance.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Caucus created the senior scholarship program to provide financial assistance to students on the basis of leadership, academics and community service.

Applications should be submitted online at www.myscholarshipcentral.org by March 9, 2018.  Once on the website, click the blue “Apply Now” button, set up a password and complete General Application.

The Women Legislators of Missouri Scholarship will be listed in the “Recommended Opportunities” for all Missouri, female, high school seniors.

The group will select recipients and then a hold a reception in their honor on Monday, April 30 in the in the State Capitol. Following the reception, the scholarships will be presented to the recipients in the Missouri House Chamber.

 

Donate Blood!

The Red Cross has issued an urgent call for blood donations. Platelet and type O negative and B negative blood donations – in particular – are critically needed right now. Hectic holiday schedules, winter weather and an active cold and flu season collectively contributed to more than 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December.

The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all require blood to help save their lives.

Eligible individuals are urged to schedule a blood or platelet donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

Stay Healthy

The flu is no laughing matter this year, with thousands of people sick. At least 97 children have died from the flu this year. Other diseases that are going around can make your life miserable as well. I am taking precautions like washing my hands frequently, I hope you are too!

Events

I will share events here that I am asked to share with my constituents.