JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Legislature kicked off another week of packed committee hearings as lawmakers and leaders tried to advance their priorities early in the session. These priorities include some proposed restrictions on schools and legislation on health care and sports involving transgender youth. Follow us for live updates.
Welcome to News-Leader’s State Capitol Live Blog, where we bring you newsworthy tidbits and updates from the Missouri State Capitol throughout the week. Check back on this page throughout the week for the latest news, or visit news-leader.com for individual stories on major developments, which continue periodically.
Questions, tips or other feedback?Email or message political reporter Galen Bacharier at email@example.com or On Twitter @galenbacharier.
This week on the air: School bill debate and transgender bill hearings
Curriculum Restrictions and the Parental Bill of Rights“: The Senate will begin substantive debate in the Chamber this week for the first time in its current session. It will include a comprehensive measure aimed at addressing and changing the public school curriculum. Senate Bills 4, 42 and 89 are combined as A single bill, led by Education Committee Chairman Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-St. Louis. The combined legislation includes:
- Language that prohibits schools from telling teachers to “personally adopt, uphold or promote a position or perspective” that would support, for example, the belief that people of one race or ethnicity are superior to another. Regions that are found to be suspected of violating this measure may be held accountable through legal action;
- The Parental Bill of Rights and the Accountability Portal, requiring schools to make materials used in curriculum and professional development available online;
- The national education department is required to formulate a “Patriotic Citizenship Education Plan”. Teachers who complete the training will receive a one-time $3,000 bonus.
The measures have been touted by Republicans as necessary accountability for public schools, which they say do not have proper oversight of how subjects such as history and race are discussed and taught. Democrats opposed the legislation, arguing that the content would place an unreasonably heavy burden on teachers and schools and could limit discussion of key topics, including black history and systemic racism.
- what happened now: The bill, which was consolidated and approved by the Senate Education Committee last week, made major changes to curriculum restrictions and removed language that barred transgender girls from youth sports. The full Senate will now debate it.exist Tuesday at 8:15 amthe Senate Education Committee will hold a hearing on another bill that also addresses the “Patriotic and Civic Training Program.”
- what happens next: Democrats, if they want, can try to block the legislation; more likely, they’ll try to water it down through compromise and negotiation. If approved by the full Senate, an additional vote would be required before moving to the House of Representatives.
- in the house: Legislation on similar topics, particularly related to the Parental Rights Act, received strong Republican support in the House of Representatives last session. If the bill passes the Senate, it is expected to face few major hurdles on the other side of the building.
Hearings Transgender issues continue: Last week, a marathon House committee meeting to discuss multiple bills targeting transgender youth stretched into the night. This week, a Senate committee will hold hearings on six proposals aimed at limiting transgender girls’ participation in women’s team games. Republicans called the legislation the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” arguing that transgender girls have a competitive edge in youth sports; Democrats and LGBTQ+ advocates called the measures discriminatory.
Another Senate Bill, 14 sponsored by Senator Mike Cierpiot of Lee’s Summit, would prohibit transgender people from changing the sex on their birth certificate for any reason “except for a medically verifiable disorder of sexual development.” Under current law, birth certificates can be changed through the courts to reflect surgical gender reassignment.
- What’s happening now: Senate Emerging Issues Committee meets Tuesday at 10 am Hear testimony and discuss transgender athletes and the birth certificate bill.
- What happens next: The committee’s chairman, Sen. Justin Brown of Rolla, could choose to vote on the bills and send them to the full Senate. Caleb Rowden, president pro tempore of the Colombian Senate, said last week that Republicans were generally interested in addressing issues related to transgender youth: “We’re going to take action on that.” Proposals for gender-affirming healthcare.
- in the house: The House General Law Committee, which held hearings on similar bills last week, has yet to vote on them. It currently has no hearings scheduled for this week.
Elsewhere to watch: Hearings on ballot measures, crime and movie tax credits
Advocate petition reform: The House is passing two resolutions that, if approved by the Legislature, would ask voters to make it harder for constitutional amendments led by citizens and outside groups to pass.House Joint Resolutions 30 and 43 are both heard and voted on by the Rules Committee on Monday, to address any potential language or structural issues before they head to the House. They could be debated in the Chamber this week.
House continues to hear testimony on crime proposal: Joplin Rep. Lane Roberts to Hear on House Bill 301 monday noon. It’s a wide-ranging package aimed at addressing public safety and crime, a priority for St. Louis House Speaker Dean Plocher.
Among the provisions: The governor has the power to appoint a special prosecutor in St. Louis; require minimum sentences for felons; change the circumstances of the “illegal possession of firearms” crime. It has won strong support from business groups such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
Senate hearing on movies and entertainmentnoExchange credits: Senate economic development committee to hear six bills Monday at 2pm Seeks to establish tax credits for the film and entertainment industries. These credits are meant to lure film and television to a country that has its fair share of mass media — even though they are almost never shot on location. Supporters say they will benefit the state’s tourism industry and bring in revenue; critics, often liberal in nature, argue that they amount to “favourite picking” in industries and programs.
Galen Bacharier covers Missouri politics and government for News-Leader.Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, (573) 219-7440, or on Twitter @galenbacharier.