If we were having coffee, I would talk about how impressed I am with the activism I see. The St. Louis chapter of Moms Demand Action had over 1,000 people attend their meeting last Thursday. Students at Affton High School put together a small conference against hate called UnifiStL–and gave up their Saturday to put it on. And I have to mention the students from Parkland, who are turning their grief into action.
This activism gives me hope. It reminds me that, as lonely as Jefferson City is sometimes, there are people behind me who want me to keep speaking my truth–and theirs.
We’ve had some student artwork displayed in the Capitol rotunda recently. This week I took some pictures to share some of Missouri’s talented children’s artwork with you.
My survey is available, I hope every constituent uses this opportunity to share their views with me!
In this issue:
- House Happenings
- Governor Update
- Capitol Construction
- In the Community
The House held hearings on several gun bills this week, both Democratic and Republican bills. The General Laws committee heard the bills on Monday and voted on them on Tuesday. The votes were party-line votes, with Republican bills passing and the Democratic bills failing. I am deeply disappointed that we are so divided on issues that contentious issues often take a party-line split. I wasn’t at this hearing, but if you want a detailed description of the vote, Representative Peter Merideth wrote a lengthy Facebook Post about his experience.
While the General Laws committee was voting on the gun bills, I was in the Children and Families committee hearing bills about kicking people out of our social safety nets. The Medicaid Work Requirement bill is terrible and, if it passes in its current form, DSS estimates that 92% of people who fall within the guidelines of the bill will be ineligible for Medicaid. That estimate fails to point out that if they do work as required in the bill, many people will be ineligible for Medicaid under the income limits. Another bill we heard would make parents ineligible for SNAP benefits (food stamps) if they fall behind in their child support obligations. We did hear one bill I would support that night, which would set up a pilot program to allow parents to use WIC to pay for fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets.
As of this writing, the Missouri House has taken votes on 88 bills.
You can see a full listing of House actions by date.
The House Rules Committee has 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.
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.
I have had a number of people write me and ask for the Governor’s resignation. I do not have the power to force his resignation; I do not have the kind of personal relationship with the Governor where I could request his resignation. In the House, we have the power to present Articles of Impeachment.
The process toward impeachment has begun. Below is an infographic outlining the Constitutional steps for impeachment in Missouri. This week, the House appointed a committee on Investigation. A Resolution was introduced and passed in the House to begin an investigation of the Governor.
According to the Resolution, the investigation is to take place within 40 days unless the House votes to extend the investigation. Hearings are to be open but can be closed at the discretion of the committee chair. A transcript will be available at the close of the investigation but may be partially redacted to protect personally identifiable data. Witnesses will be under oath and may be subpoenaed. The committee members will not be free to discuss proceedings while they are going on.
One thing I found concerning about the Resolution hearing is that the chair of the Committee, Rep. Jay Barnes, refused to answer questions about what the process would be if the committee recommended impeachment. This is something to be determined after the committee makes its recommendation.
The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. The streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. In case you’re wondering what it will look like, here is an artist rendering. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
In the Community
I am currently scheduling meetings in June to talk with constituents about the voting process and how to be involved with your government. If you would like to schedule a time for me to meet with you and your neighbors, please let me know by responding to this e-mail!
We had pancake day at the Capitol last week to celebrate Missouri tourism!
On Saturday, I spoke on a panel about racism at Affton High School’s UnifiSTL event.
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!
The committees I am on are:
- Children and Families
- Fiscal Review
- Insurance Policy, Standing
- Subcommittee on Creation and Appointments
- Rules — Administrative Oversight
- Special Committee on Innovation and Technology
- Career and Technical Education Advisory Council
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.
Candidates have filed to run in the April general election.
The polls will be open 6AM-7PM on Election Day, April 3, 2018.
- Aldermanic Seat (4 seats)
- Board of Trustees seat (2 seats).
- Aldermanic Seat — Ward I
- Aldermanic Seat — Ward II
- Aldermanic Seat — Ward III
- 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
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.
The Missouri Bar has launched a new website, https://missouri.freelegalanswers.org/. This website will provide some legal answers for low-income people from trained lawyers, and also has resources for other legal assistance for people who need it. It is a resource for people who need legal help but cannot afford it.
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.