On the Floor
On Wednesday, Jan. 5, the 2022 legislative session began at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Usually, the first day of session is a calm event marked with ceremony and collegiality as lawmakers from across the state return to the Capitol to begin working on legislation. In my opinion, this year was different.
While the first day of the legislative year included the traditional pomp and circumstance, there was also passionate debate as senators addressed several lingering issues from last year’s legislative session. As I listened to my colleagues speak, many of them urged the chamber to move forward with honor and integrity, stressing the importance of working together to make our state a better place for all Missourians. In my eyes, it was a rocky start to 2022, but I am hopeful we can move past our differences because I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of St. Louis.
The second day of session was also a somber event, as we marked the one year anniversary of the armed insurrection against our nation and the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol. One year ago, rioters stormed the halls of Congress, attacked police officers and tried to sabotage our democracy. In the days and weeks after the riot, five police officers who had served at the U.S. Capitol on that dark day tragically died because of the physical and mental injuries they sustained. We must never forget Jan. 6, 2021, a day when our democracy came perilously close to collapse.
Perhaps the one moment of promise in this difficult week was the unveiling of the book “You Can, Too!” which profiles the 36 women who have served in the Missouri Senate since the first female senator was elected in 1972. This book, which will be provided to fourth grade classrooms throughout Missouri, details each woman’s path to elected office. I believe their stories will help to encourage young people to follow their dreams and improve their communities.
I am so deeply proud to serve in the Missouri Senate alongside ten other strong, intelligent, and successful women. I know we will continue to use the honor of elected office to be an example to the daughters of Missouri. As this week has clearly shown, now, more than ever, we need elected leaders to put aside their personal differences and put the people first. That’s what I have strived to do since I first took the oath of office, and it’s what you can count on me to do every day forward.
It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. If there is ever anything my office or I can do for you, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here for you.
Resignations Cost House Majority Caucus Supermajority Status
A number of resignations have resulted in the House Majority Caucus losing their two-thirds supermajority in the Missouri House of Representatives. The House Majority held a 114-49 advantage over the Minority Caucus during the 2021 session. However, the majority’s numbers have since dropped to 108 – one short of the 109 votes constitutionally required to override a veto or to enact an emergency clause allowing legislation to take effect immediately upon being signed by the governor.
As COVID Cases Spike, State of Emergency Ends
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations hitting record levels in many parts of the state and nation, the state of emergency declared by the governor at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 expired on Dec. 31, 2021. The move drew criticism from medical providers and others who noted the pandemic is getting worse, not better. For instance, hospital officials in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield areas have all reported sharp spikes in COVID-19 cases and increasingly overwhelmed staff as the highly contagious omicron variant takes hold in Missouri.
Governor Announces New Revenue, Mental Health Directors
On Dec. 29, 2021, the governor announced two new additions to his cabinet with the selection of Wayne Wallingford as director of the Missouri Department of Revenue and Valarie Huhn as director of the state Department of Mental Health.
Wallingford is a former state lawmaker from Cape Girardeau who previously served in the Senate. After being term-limited in the upper chamber, Wallingford won election to the House of Representatives in 2020 and was midway through his term when he resigned to take the revenue post. The Senate must confirm Wallingford’s appointment.