Capitol Report: February 24, 2018

Hello!

If we were having coffee, I’m sure the conversation would go to our Governor. The indictment of Eric Greitens for alleged first-degree invasion of privacy, a felony, is unprecedented in Missouri history. Guilty or innocent, it will be extremely difficult for Eric Greitens to effectively serve as governor while under felony indictment. If he is guilty, he must resign without delay. If he chooses to fight the charges, he must consider whether attempting to remain in office under these circumstances is in the best interest of the people of Missouri, not to mention himself and his family.

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

The House has hearings on several important bills this week. The first hearings are in theHouse General Laws committee on Monday, where they will be hearing a number of gun bills, including a bill to expand places where a person can carry a concealed weapon. They are meeting in House Hearing Room 4 (the smallest hearing room) at noon on Monday, planning to reconvene after session (meaning, they don’t think they will get through everything, so they will break at 4 for session and come back after session ends around 5 or 6.)

The House Rules — Administrative Oversight committee will hold full hearings on three bills: one dealing with police pensions ( HB 2202 ), and two dealing with environmental regulations HB 1973 and HB 2141 ). They will convene at 2:00 in House Hearing Room 6 and will reconvene after session.

One bill I am especially concerned with are Medicaid work requirements , in the House as HB 1856 , which will be heard in Children and Families committee on Tuesday at 5:00 pm in House Hearing Room 7. The Senate heard a similar bill, SB 948, last week. I believe work requirements for Medicaid are a terrible idea in that they increase governmental red tape and individuals who need the Medicaid support will have to continually prove that they are eligible, which will be a substantial burden.

The Ethics committee issued a report on Rep. Warren Love in Monday’s Journal (beginning on page 693-you can find it quick by searching for “693”). The Journal is published every day and is a summary of the day’s events in the House. The Report is the full action that the Ethics committee will take. It includes a timeline of events, letters by Rep. Warren Love, Rep. Kevin Austin, Rep. Peter Merideth, a comment submitted by the Democratic caucus of the committee, and a transcript of the hearing. On Thursday, Speaker Richardson announced that there would be no further action taken against Rep. Love.

As of this writing, the Missouri House has taken votes on 76 bills. Some of the bills we passed out this week include:

  • HB 2034, allowing industrial agricultural hemp
  • HCS HB 1572, putting a “DHH” designation on drivers licenses for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • HCS HB 1366, allowing school districts to contract with municipalities to transport high school children on public transportation.

I was quite frustrated with the debate on HCS HB 1366. I have some serious concerns about this bill, including a concern that students who are suspended for bullying or stalking could not be banned from public transportation while other students (including the victim) are on the bus, and a concern about the authority of the school to discipline a student for acts committed while that student is on public transportation. At the first debate about this bill, debate was killed before I could raise this point. At the second debate (immediately before we voted), I raised this point it was rebutted; immediately after this rebuttal the majority party ended debate on the bill (with a number of our members standing).

On Monday, the Missouri House passed out HB 1630, which would raise the legal age of marriage in Missouri and set a minimum age for marriage. Unfortunately, 50 House members chose to vote against this bill. The Riverfront Times had an article decrying this vote here.

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.

See what’s scheduled on the House floor.

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

On Thursday evening, I spoke at South County Labor Club about why unions are important to preserve a good quality of life for working people.

 

On Friday, I attended a grand opening celebration at Family Forward, a developmental trauma center in St. Louis. Their trauma-informed approach helps children develop skills and recover from childhood trauma. Family Forward is the result of a merger between Children’s Home Society of St. Louis and the Family Resource Center of St. Louis. I was there with colleagues Rep. Tracy McCreery, Rep. Sue Merideth, and Rep. Gretchen Bangert.

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 at South County Tech High School on April 7 from 10-12. Save the date

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!


Committees

The committees I am on are:

Announcements

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.

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).

Senior Service Awards

The Lieutenant Governor’s Senior Service Award was instituted in 2005 to promote and highlight the positive accomplishments Missouri’s senior citizens have made in their local communities. Hundreds of seniors have been honored so far with this award. This year we again are honoring seniors from around our state. We will recognize each of these exceptional seniors at our annual Senior Service Award banquet here at the Capitol in May.

Each winner will receive an official Declaration from my office and an invitation to our award banquet. Here is the timeline for the awards:

  • March 29: Nominations due
  • April 6: Winners announced
  • May 7: Awards Presentation at 1:00 PM in the 1st Floor Capitol Rotunda

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 Senior Service Awards. Individuals should be at least 60 years of age and volunteer a minimum of 25 hours per year. You also can access the nomination form here. The deadline to submit your nominations is March 29, 2018.  Please submit completed forms via fax, mail, or email. Please contact me if you would like me to make a nomination

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.

  • League of Women Voters will be holding a forum for Mayoral and City Council Candidates on March 13 at 7:00 pm at the Webster Groves Rec Center (33 E Glendale)
  • Grand Opening of Bloom Cafe: Bloom Cafe is a project of Paraquad and is designed to help people with disabilities get the skills they need to move into competitive, integrated employment.
    Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at 10 a.m.
    5200 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Town Hall with Reps. Sarah Unsicker, Doug Beck, Bob Burns and Deb Lavender on Saturday, April 7 from 10-12 at South County Tech High School, 12721 W Watson Rd.