Work towards perfection
We are halfway through the 2022 legislative session. The last day to introduce additional bills was March 1, and next week the General Assembly will take a break for spring recess. While I’m disappointed with the lack of progress toward passing a congressional map, I’m glad the Senate has finally begun to perfect bills that will make a real difference in the lives of Missourians. Here are some of the invoices that have been perfected:
Senate Bill 724: As originally introduced, this bill amended provisions of Missouri law to help transportation districts operate more efficiently. I was able to amend the bill to include language from my Senate Bill 845. This measure spares small counties the onerous requirement to publish overly detailed financial statements in local newspapers, giving them the ability to print the same type of summary reports that larger counties provide. . Anyone who still wants line-by-line accounting will be able to get it, but the county won’t have to fill the pages of the log with information few people have read.
Senate Bills 681 and 662: This combined legislation joins two education bills from opposite sides of the political spectrum to create a package of reforms aimed at improving children’s literacy in Missouri. The legislation directs the National Board of Education, in conjunction with the Coordinating Council for Higher Education, to develop a comprehensive system of services for teaching reading. I am proud of the work done by the women of the Senate to bring this bill to fruition and I look forward to continuing to support it.
Senate Bill 678: This legislation increases the minimum funding threshold for the Kansas City Police Department, Missouri’s only local police department under state control. The sponsor of this legislation was prompted by an attempt by the Kansas City Council to withdraw more than $40 million in previously budgeted funding from the KCPD. Our law enforcement officers deserve our support, and I am proud to endorse this legislation, which will prevent future Kansas City police defunding efforts.
Although it has yet to be debated in the Senate Chamber, my Senate Bill 702 has passed out of committee and is now awaiting its turn on the Perfection Calendar. One of my top priorities this session, SB 702 prohibits employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment. The bill further requires reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious, moral, ethical or philosophical objections to the pandemic-related requirements. Additional provisions prohibit vaccination mandates or mandatory testing in public schools, public housing and daycares. I am proud of the work we are doing to meet the needs of Missourians and ensure their religious freedoms are not infringed, and I look forward to presenting this measure to my colleagues after we return from recess.
It’s been a contentious year so far in the Missouri Senate. I hope that when we return to the Capitol after spring break, everyone puts political games aside and that we can move forward in a spirit of cooperation for the benefit of all Missourians. You can be sure that I will work to do my best to represent the inhabitants of the 33rd arrondissement.