First week of session…
The Missouri General Assembly started off session on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. The House of Representatives held a moment of silence for the late Representative Tom Hannegan. The House also recognized the retirement of Representative Justin Hill and Representative Aaron Griesheimer, who both gave farewell speeches. The House started session with routine business and then quickly adjourned.
The Missouri Senate opened with the pledge of allegiance and a prayer from Lieutenant Governor Kehoe. Shortly thereafter, several Senators conveyed their lack of trust among members. Several members aired their grievances that have remained high from the previous session.
The Missouri House and Senate have been off to a speedy start with more than a thousand bills that have already been introduced. The Missouri House held several hearings throughout the week, touching on several controversial topics. Hearings this week covered bills on redistricting, the budget, federal aid, state employee pay raises, Medicaid expansion, critical race theory, parental bill of rights, funding for charter schools, pro-life measures, and vaccine mandates. There are several issues to address this legislative session along with looming deadlines. One thing is for sure, this legislative session is expected to be jam-packed.
President Pro Tem, Senator Dave Schatz
Majority Floor Leader, Senator Caleb Rowden
Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Senator Bill White
Minority Floor Leader, Senator John Rizzo
Assistant Minority Floor Leader, Senator Brian Williams
Speaker of the House, Rob Vescovo
Speaker Pro Tem, John Wiemann
Majority Floor Leader, Dean Plocher
Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Hannah Kelly
Majority Whip, Allen Andrews
Minority Floor Leader, Crystal Quade
Assistant Minority Floor Leader, Richard Brown
Minority Whip, Doug Clemens
2022 Committee Chairs:
House Higher Education Committee
Rep. Brenda Shields (R) - Chair
Rep. John Black (R) - Vice Chair
House Budget Committee
Rep. Cody Smith (R) - Chair
Rep. Dirk Deaton (R) - Vice Chair
House Subcommittee on Appropriations - Education
Rep. Rusty Black (R) - Chair
Rep. Brenda Shields (R) - Vice Chair
Senate Appropriations Committee
Senator Dan Hegeman (R) - Chair
Senator Lincoln Hough (R) - Vice Chair
Senate Education Committee
Senator Cindy O’Laughlin (R) - Chair
Senator Rick Brattin (R) - Vice Chair
First day of session: January 5, 2022
Martin Luther King Jr. Day-Observed: January 17, 2022
Governor Parson’s State of the State Address: January 19, 2022
Last day of session: May 13, 2022
Veto session: September 14, 2022
Missouri House of Representatives
The House Special Committee on Redistricting held hearings this week to discuss the proposed congressional map (HB2117) that was introduced by Representative Dan Shaul, who chairs the House Special Committee on Redistricting. The proposal currently keeps Missouri as a 6-2 split, with some changes regarding where the boundary lines for the eight congressional seats are drawn. House Bill 2117 successfully passed out of committee and reflects testimony from constituents and information from the 2020 census. The House Special Committee on Redistricting also met to hear testimony regarding an alternative proposal that was introduced by Representative Crystal Quade (HB2324).
The state budget is geared up to be one of the big issues during the legislative session, with the main question being, how to spend billions of federal dollars in relief prior to the looming deadline and how to spend billions of state dollars in surplus general revenue. Please see a list of this week’s House Budget Committee hearings below.
- This week, the House Budget committee held a hearing on a supplemental budget bill (HB3014) introduced by Representative Cody Smith. The more than $5 billion dollar supplemental includes Governor Mike Parson’s proposal for state employee pay raises, additional funding for Missouri schools and Medicaid expansion.
- The House Budget committee also met this week to discuss Representative Doug Richey’s bill that would reform the way charter schools are funded (HB1552). This bill successfully passed out of committee this week.
Parents Bill of Rights and Critical Race Theory (CRT)
The House Elementary and Secondary Education committee held a hearing to discuss several bills regarding increased parental involvement regarding their children in Missouri schools. Please see below a list of bills that were discussed at the hearing.
- The Parents' Bill of Rights Act of 2022 (HB1474), introduced by Representative Nick Schroer, would require school districts that receive any federal or state money, to provide specific rights and information relating to minor children to the parents of the child. The bill also prevents the teaching of critical race theory and the 1619 project.
- The Parents’ Bill of Rights for Student Well-Being (HB1995), introduced by Representative Doug Richey, seeks to prohibit the infringement of the rights of parents or legal guardians when it comes to a minor’s upbringing, education, healthcare, or mental health. The bill establishes several parental rights to include what information the school district must share with them and the ability for students to opt out of lessons or instruction. The legislation also implements an online portal that will give greater access to parents regarding the curriculum being taught to their child.
- Representative Chuck Basye introduced a bill to establish a procedure for recalling a school board member from office by their voters (HB1747). The procedure for a recall election would require a petition signed by at least 10% of the number of voters who voted in the most recent district board member election.
Initiative Petition Reform
The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee met to hear testimony regarding Representative Henderson’s joint resolution that would increase the amount of required collected signatures and would amend the state Constitution to require a two thirds majority vote for passage (HJR79).
The House Children and Families Committee met to hear testimony regarding Representative Davidson’s bill that would change the age of what constitutes a missing child in the state of Missouri from seventeen years of age currently to eighteen years of age (HB1559).
The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony this week regarding several bills that seek to eliminate vaccination requirements and on the question of what should constitute as an exemption. Several citizens testified against the bills citing that businesses want their own choice in determining whether or not they require vaccinations for their employees. Please see a list of bills that were discussed at the hearing below.
- House Bill 1641, filed by Representative Jeff Coleman, creates provisions relating to employer responsibilities associated with vaccine mandates.
- House Bill 1686, filed by Representative Bill Hardwick, creates provisions relating to the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and medical treatment.
- House Bill 1709, filed by Representative Cyndi Buchheit-Courtway, under the provisions of the bill, requiring a person to receive a medication, vaccination or injection that has not been fully authorized by the FDA, under emergency use authorization, or is currently going through safety trials would constitute as an unlawful discriminatory practice.
- House Bill 1710, filed by Representative Cyndi Buchheit-Courtway, this bill includes provisions from House Bill 1709 and contains provisions that would make it unlawful to harass, intimidate, or take punitive action against those who oppose taking said medication, vaccination or injection based off religious beliefs, moral conviction, or for philosophical reasons.
- House Bill 1768, filed by Representative Ed Lewis, which seeks to prohibit discrimination in employment based on COVID-19 vaccination status.
- House Bill 2358, field by Representative David Evans, which modifies provisions relating to vaccine discrimination, employee misconduct, and workers’ compensation.
This week, the Senate agreed to a measure that would make it more difficult to end a filibuster that was sponsored by Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo. The proposal would require ten Senators to sign a petition to force a vote.
University of Missouri Board of Curators
Keith Holloway, nominated by Governor Mike Parson to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators, was confirmed by the Missouri State Senate this week. Keith will continue to represent the Eighth Congressional District and will officially be replacing former curator David Steelman. There are two other seats with members serving expired terms.
The Senate Progress and Development Committee met to hear testimony regarding Senator Hough’s bill that would repeal the current sunset of the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant Program and would also cover costs for eligible apprenticeships (SB672). The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a financial aid program for those pursuing a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential. The grantees must reside and work in Missouri for three years following their graduation.
There have been over a thousand bills filed thus far, many of those related to education. As mentioned during our advocacy presentations, the link for a list of key bills is listed below. We have highlighted a few below.
Tracking List: https://www.govwatch.net/report/21265
Representative Chuck Basye filed the same legislation as he did last year that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry firearms on campus (HB1751). Institutions may implement policies regarding permits to carry firearms, but these policies cannot prohibit carrying, chambering, active operation, or storage of concealed firearms.
Cronkite New Voices Act
Senator Barbara Washington has introduced the Cronkite New Voices Act (SB855) which seeks to protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press to school journalists working on school-sponsored media. This legislation would try to ensure that material in a school’s social media, for public high schools and public institutions of higher education, would not be suppressed due to it covering political or controversial subject matter.
The Cronkite New Voices Act was introduced in the House (HB1668) by Representative Phil Christofanelli.
Representative Travis Fitzwater and Senator Mike Cierpiot reintroduced legislation that was previously filed last session but with changes to the text. The bill requires that computer science courses successfully completed and counted toward state graduation requirements shall be equivalent to one science or practical arts credit for the purpose of satisfying admission requirements at any public institution of higher education in the state (HB2202 and SB659). House Bill 2202 was referred to House Committee on Workforce Development and Senate Bill 659 was referred to the Senate Committee on Education.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
Representative Chris Brown has reintroduced the same legislation as last session that would require public institutions of higher learning to adopt and implement policies giving undergraduate course credit to entering freshman students who earn a passing score of three or higher for each advanced placement exam (HB1683).
Representative Dan Shual (HB2080), Senator Denny Hoskins (SB643), Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (SB764) and Senator Dan Hegeman (SB1046) have all filed bills that would modify provisions relating to sports wagering. There have been several bills filed in the Missouri legislature regarding sports wagering and gaming. Currently, sports betting is not legal in the state of Missouri. However, several neighboring states have adopted policies that allow for sports betting.
"You Can, Too!”
Last week, an exciting rollout of the book, “You Can Too”, worked on by female Missouri Senators and includes profiles of both former and current female Senator who have served in Missouri and talks about their journey to holding public office. These books will be given to libraries and elementary schools throughout Missouri. This book was written to increase childhood literacy and inspire young readers.
State Government Updates
Governor Mike Parson
State of the State Address
Governor Parson is expected to give his State of the State Address on January 19, 2022. He is expected to roll out his proposed FY23 budget and his administration’s priorities for the coming year.
2022 Legislative Session Priorities
Among several key priorities, expected to be rolled out during Governor Parson’s State of the State Address, one of his top priorities is pay raises for state employees. He also has called for amending Missouri’s open records law to allow agencies to charge fees for the time it takes for attorneys to review records requested from the public.
General Revenue Estimate
Governor Parson announced the FY23 consensus revenue estimate. Net general revenue collections in FY23 are expected to be $11.4 billion.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is instructing for Governor Mike Parson to call for a special election to fill the four seats that are currently vacant in the House, along with additional resignations that are expected. Leaving those seats open will impact the residents of those districts as they will only be represented by their state senator until the seats are filled.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft in the 2022 legislative session is urging the Missouri legislature to put in place election reforms, which is illustrated on his office’s website with a countdown clock.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt
The U.S. Supreme Court has recently heard arguments from Missouri against the rule that imposed federal mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers. The lawsuit was led by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt against the current administration after the rule was published, citing that the rule would negatively impact rural health care facilities.
On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s vaccine or test mandate for businesses. The Supreme Court will allow the administration to enforce the vaccination requirement for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funds.