What’s Happening Report: January 19, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would be inviting you to observe, or even participate in, government events. Whether it is a city council hearing, a state committee meeting, listening to floor debate, or even going up to Washington DC for a hearing or protest, get involved. I am going to put upcoming hearings in a section of my newsletter (below) and encourage you to get involved.
Last Week
It has been an exciting two weeks since the 100th General Assembly was sworn in.

We have not yet debated any bills, but we had a several hours-long debate on the House rules this week. There were two rules that we debated that were quite a disappointment: First, we discussed whether to add LGBTQ individuals to our non-discrimination policy, which would prevent the House from firing anyone because of their sexual or gender orientation. This was voted down.

The other significant rule that we debated was to keep e-mails and documents from being discovered under the Sunshine Law. The rule stated that correspondence to and from constituents and records that contain caucus strategy may be kept confidential. This vote was the first recorded House vote since voters passed Clean Missouri by 62%, and the rule passed 114-44.

I received my committee assignments: I am the ranking minority member of the Children and Families committee and of the Rules-Legislative Oversight committee. I will be on one other committee; however that is yet to be decided because the other committee I was on was a scheduling conflict.
Next Week
There are a number of hearings this next week that I want you to be aware of.

On Tuesday 1/22 beginning at 6:15 PM at Webster Groves City Hall, the Webster Groves City Council will hold a Work Session and City Council meeting. http://www.webstergroves.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01222019-628On Tuesday 1/22 beginning at 6:00 PM at the Shrewsbury community center, the Shrewsbury Board of Aldermen will hold a Work Session.The Missouri House will not be in session on Monday for Martin Luther King’s birthday. We will have session on Tuesday at 4:00 PM and on Wednesday at 10:00 AM. Thursday will be a technical session.The Missouri Senate will not be in session on Monday for Martin Luther King’s birthday.
There are two other hearings on Wednesday morning that I am interested in. The first is in the Senate on Wednesday where they will debate SB 14, a bill that creates a rebuttable presumption that 50-50 custody is in the best interest of the child. This takes discretion away from the judge to decide what is the best arrangement of that child, and will make it harder to take a child away from an abusive parent. It will also end up making child custody proceedings cost a whole lot more.

They will also debate SB 4, which will require food stamp recipients to report their working hours to be eligible to continue receiving food assistance. When Arkansas implemented a similar measure, the number of food stamp recipients dropped by 43 percent. SNAP already requires work: individuals age 18 to 50 are limited to three months of benefits out of every three years unless they work or participate in a training program.

Date:  Wednesday, January 23
Time:  8:00 A.M.
Room:  Senate Lounge
SB 4 – Sater – Modifies the law relating to work requirements for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
SB 14 – Wallingford – Modifies provisions of law relating to child custody arrangements

The other hearing I am interested in on Wednesday is in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, where they will be hearing a resolution to encourage inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce. The resolution is similar to HR 19 that I filed this year.

Resolution No. 221
01/23/19, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMENCOURAGING DISABILITY INCLUSIONENCOURAGING DISABILITY INCLUSION
Overview Resolution
Session:2018-2019 Primary
Sponsor: Christine Ingrassia 
Committee: Health and Human Services
Location: Leisure Room 230 1200 Market Street Room 230 St. Louis, MO 63103
The 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Celebration in Webster Groves and Rock Hill will be held Sunday, January 20, 2019. The event will begin with a march from Webster Groves City Hall to the Steger/Givens school building in Rock Hill, to be followed by a dinner reception in the school cafeteria, and the celebration program of word and song in Steger’s auditorium. The public is encouraged to attend.Marchers will assemble at 4:30 p.m. on the steps of Webster Groves City Hall, 4 E. Lockwood Ave., and walk to the Steger/Givens building, 701 N. Rock Hill Road. Marchers are reminded that they should dress for a mile-long walk in whatever weather the day brings. A bus shuttle, provided by the Webster Groves School District to transfer marchers from the Steger/Givens parking lot to the Webster Groves City Hall, will make its first departure from Steger at 4:00 p.m.