The Missouri Senate took up the redistricting proposal, House Bill 2117. The Senate- Select Committee on Redistricting passed the bill along with the emergency clause out of committee. The bill proceeded to the full Senate where it was met with a fiery exchange, especially from those that who would like to see a 7-1 map. The filibuster continued for hours, which delayed other business, cancelling the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments hearing. The Senate eventually adjourned for the day, no negotiation was reached with those seeking a 7-1 map. The Senate is expected to take up the bill again next week.
The Missouri House had several hearings this week to hear public testimony on bills regarding higher education, agriculture, and vaccine mandates. No word yet on when the House Budget committee will pass the more than five-billion-dollar emergency supplemental budget bill out of committee. This bill includes funding for schools and pay raises for state employees. No further action has been taken on the emergency supplemental budget bill since its hearing.
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
The Missouri Senate took up the redistricting proposal, House Bill 2117, introduced by Representative Dan Shaul. The proposal keeps Missouri as a 6-2 split, with some changes regarding where the boundary lines for the eight congressional seats are drawn. The Senate- Select Committee on Redistricting passed the bill along with the emergency clause out of committee on a 9-5 vote. The same senators voted no on both votes, Senator Eigel, Senator Hoskins, Senator Onder, Senator Roberts and Senator Williams. House Bill 2117 proceeded to the full Senate where it was met with much debate, especially from those that who would like to see a 7-1 map.
On January 25, 2022, the Senate Economic Development Committee met to discuss several bills including a bill that would provide for a tax credit for certain research expenses. Senator Brian Williams introduced a bill that would reauthorize a tax credit, which would be equal to 15% of qualified research expenses, or 20% of qualified research expenses if done in conjunction with a public or private college or university in the state of Missouri (SB688). Senate Bill 688 also authorizes a sales tax exemption for purchasing qualified research and development equipment.
The Senate Committee on General Laws met to hear public testimony on several bills including Senator Eric Burlison’s Senate Bill 752. This text is identical to the text he filed last session. The bill includes higher educational institutions in the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm or an individual with a ccw permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state. The bill prohibits public institutions of higher education from imposing any policies or contractual requirements that would prohibit employees or students from the carrying of concealed firearms into locations where concealed carry is not otherwise permitted by law.
Historically Black College and University Week
This week, the Senate Progress and Development Committee heard public testimony regarding Senator Barbara Washington’s bill that would designate the third week of September as “Historically Black College and University Week” in Missouri (SB718).
Minimum Wage Increase
Senator Doug Beck has introduced Senate Bill 893, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour by 2026. After 2026, the wage rate will increase or decrease each year based off the increase of decrease in Consumer Price Index (CPI). This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Industry.
Missouri House of Representatives
On January 24, 2022, the Missouri House Higher Education Committee met to discuss higher education bills regarding financial aid and preventing religious discrimination. Please see below for a list of bills that were discussed at the hearing.
- House Bill 1723, introduced by Representative Brenda Shields, which would allow students who earned an associate's degree or the equivalent to apply unused A+ scholarship funds toward earning a bachelor's degree.
- House Bill 1724, introduced by Representative Brad Hudson, would prohibit public institutions of higher learning from discriminating against a religious student association or denying a religious student association any benefit available to any other student association.
On January 25, 2022, the Missouri House Agriculture Policy Committee met to hear testimony on several bills relating to agriculture policy aimed at helping Missouri farmers. Please see below for a list of bills that were discussed at the hearing.
- House Bill 1695, introduced by Representative Kurtis Gregory, would authorize a tax credit for the sale of ethanol fuel.
- House Bill 1875, introduced by Representative Mike Haffner, would create tax credits for producers of biodiesel fuels.
- House Bill 2387, introduced by Representative Kurtis Gregory, would establish the soybean producer’s assessment and its relationship to the federal assessment
On January 25, 2022, the Missouri House Judiciary Committee met to hear public testimony on nineteen vaccine mandate related bills. Most of the testimony was in opposition to the bills citing that business owners have the right to make decisions for their businesses and thus what they require for their employees. Please see below for a list of bills that were discussed at the hearing.
- House Bill 1465, introduced by Representative Adam Schnelting, would prohibit any entity within the state may require documentation of vaccination status to access public transportation systems. The bill also prohibits any governmental entity from issuing vaccine passports in order to share with a third party or otherwise publish a person's vaccination record. Businesses in the state would also be prohibited from requiring a customer to provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination or immunity in order to gain entry to, or services from, the business.
- House Bill 1475, introduced by Representative Nick Schroer, would prohibit educational institutions from mandating COVID-19 vaccines or gene therapy treatments.
- House Bill 1485, introduced by Representative Ann Kelley, would require any employer that requires employees to undergo or provide proof of vaccination against any disease as a condition of employment, to exempt an employee or prospective employee from vaccination requirements based upon religious or conscientious objections or satisfactory evidence of acquired immunity to the disease. This legislation passed out committee successfully, voted do pass as substituted.
- House Bill 1543, introduced by Representative Mike McGirl, would prohibit places of public accommodation from requiring vaccination against COVID-19 in order to access services.
- House Bill 1544, introduced by Representative Mike McGirl,, prohibits an employer and political subdivision from requiring an employee or prospective employee to undergo or provide proof of receiving COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment or continued employment.
- House Bill 1575, introduced by Representative John Wiemann, would require natural immunity to be considered equivalent to vaccine-induced immunity for viral infections.
- House Bill 1617, introduced by Representative Dean VanSchoiack, precludes any entity, including the state or a political subdivision thereof, from requiring any person to undergo or provide proof of receiving a vaccination for COVID-19, influenza, or any other diseases.
- House Bill 1624, introduced by Representative Nick Schroer, creates provisions relating to COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
- House Bill 1635, introduced by Representative Brian Seitz, provides that despite any laws, rules, orders, or directives made in response to an emergency relating to outbreaks or potential outbreaks or epidemics of a contagious, infectious, or communicable disease, individuals retain the right to be free and independent and maintain their inalienable and fundamental right of self-determination to make their own health decisions including: the right to refuse health-related countermeasures including medical treatments, examinations, vaccinations, mask wearing, involuntary sharing of personal or medical data or other recommended measure to distance from other humans and animals.
- House Bill 1665, introduced by Representative Brian Seitz, prohibits hospitals or health care facilities from requiring a health care professional, staff member, employee, or applicant for a position to be immunized, or discriminating against or terminating such person, for their refusal to receive an immunization.
- House Bill 1670, introduced by Representative Brian Seitz, prohibits any government entity from issuing vaccine passports, as defined in the bill, for the purpose of certifying an individual's COVID-19 vaccination status to a third party or otherwise publish an individual's COVID-19 vaccination record or other similar health information.
- House Bill 1691, introduced by Representative Mitch Boggs, prohibits the state and political subdivisions from contracting with employers or companies that engage in discrimination against unvaccinated persons.
- House Bill 1692, introduced by Representative Mitch Boggs, creates provisions relating to employer liability for injuries from required immunizations.
- House Bill 1762, introduced by Representative Chris Sander, creates provisions relating to the return of fines or other monetary penalties for the violation of COVID-19 health orders.
- House Bill 1769, introduced by Representative Ed Lewis, prohibits entities receiving state funding from requiring COVID-19 vaccination or proof of such vaccination of their employees or customers.
- House Bill 1861, introduced by Representative John Eggleston, provides no hospital, physician, procurement organization, or other person may consider COVID-19 vaccination status of a potential organ transplant recipient or donor at any stage in organ transplant processing.
- House Bill 1904, introduced by Representative Jim Murphy, creates provisions relating to COVID-19 vaccination equivalency cards.
- House Bill 2055, introduced by Representative Ed Lewis, creates provisions relating to COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
- House Bill 2093, introduced by Representative John Wiemann, establishes the "COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Program Limitation Act", which prohibits employers in Missouri from creating, implementing or enforcing a COVID-19 vaccination program for its employees or requiring the employees show proof of a COVID19 vaccination that was developed under emergency use only authorization by the FDA.
COVID-19 Mask Mandate Lawsuits
Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade introduced legislation that would reimburse political subdivisions, including school districts, for legal costs incurred by civil action brought on by the Attorney General, if the action is terminated in favor of the political subdivision (HB2569). This bill seeks to reimburse schools for the costs they have incurred from mask mandate lawsuits.
Special Committee on Public Policy
House Speaker Rob Vescovo created a new committee, the Special Committee on Public Policy. Please see a list of committee members below.
- Chairman: Representative Scott Cupps
- Vice-Chair: Representative Dottie Bailey
- Representatvive Ben Baker
- Representative Jason Chipman
- Representative Mark Ellebracht
- Representative Hannah Kelly
- Representative Mark Sharp
Representative Travis Fitzwater 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). House Bill 2202 was referred to House Committee on Workforce Development and has a scheduled hearing for January 31, 2022.