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Representative Yolanda Young's Newsletter

April 09, 2021


Contact me at: 
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone: (573) 751-3129
Email: yolanda.young@house.mo.gov


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Dear Neighbors,

This week, Governor Parson announced that our state has successfully vaccinated 1.1 million Missourians. Since the vaccine came to our state, we have had a consistent decline in positive COVID-19 cases. In November, there were some days that over 7,000 Missourians were testing positive. Today, the 7-day average for positive cases is only 324.  

I'll admit that, just like many of you, I had concerns about getting vaccinated. In my role as a legislator, I encouraged Missourians to register for their vaccine and provided resource information as I received it. However, I grappled with getting the vaccine myself. The potential side effects of the vaccine and questions about whether I would be worse off after getting it was brought into question. My knowledge of healthcare inequities in low-income communities and in communities of color plagued my mind. Plus, seeing these inequities play out during the initial stages when vaccine sites were being set up, added to my hesitation. And of course, I didn’t want to be the first in line – I wanted to “wait and see”.

I knew that for us to return to some sense of normalcy, we would have to build a collective defense against the virus to eventually achieve herd immunity. Therefore, I continued to do my research and finally made the step to schedule an appointment. I’ve concluded that taking the vaccine would be worth it if we could end this pandemic -- especially since we have experienced so many losses in the last year.

If you are hesitant, like I was, to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I encourage you to talk to your primary healthcare doctor, your trusted friends and family, and do some research on your own. The way we can make it through this pandemic is together and by educating ourselves and engaging in the efforts to mitigate the disease is a crucial part of our way out. 

TOMORROW on Saturday, April 10th, Community Builders of Kansas City are hosting a drive-thru vaccination event at the Friendship Baptist Church here in District 22.  Since we are in Phase 3 of our vaccination plan, all Missourians are now eligible. To register for the event, visit the Swope Health vaccination form
 
 
 
Remember, my office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs any assistance, please don't hesitate to call my office at (573) 751-3129.

Yours in Service,

Yolanda Young
House Approves Creating State Department of Defense
The House of Representatives voted 146-6-1 on April 8 to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that, if ratified by voters, would create a new state Department of Defense to oversee the Missouri National Guard, which currently is housed under the Department of Public Safety. The House also approved companion implementing legislation by vote of 132-15-3.
 
The sponsor of House Joint Resolution 6 said the intent in placing the National Guard under its own state department is to streamline the chain of command by having the state adjutant general report directly to the governor instead of the public safety director. However, under existing state law, the adjutant general already reports directly to the governor, and the Guard is statutorily housed under public safety merely for organizational purposes, with the DPS director having no authority over it. As a result, it is unclear what practical purpose creating a new Department of Defense would serve.
 
Both HJR 6 and House Bill 60, the companion implementing legislation, now advance to the Senate. If it clears the upper chamber, HJR 6 would automatically go on the November 2022 statewide ballot for voter ratification. If voters rejected HJR 6, HB 60 would be rendered inoperable. At present, the state has 16 state departments, the maximum authorized under the state constitution.
Kansas City and St. Louis Voters Renew Local Earnings Taxes
Voters in both Kansas City and St. Louis on April 6 again overwhelmingly supported renewing their local earnings taxes for another five years. The 1 percent earnings taxes in each city are paid by city residents, as well as people who work in one of the cities but reside elsewhere.
 
Both cities have had earnings taxes for about 60 years, and the revenue from the taxes constitute a significant portion of their budgets. But under a statewide ballot measure approved by Missouri voters in 2010, Kansas City and St. Louis voters must now periodically renew their taxes or the levies would be phased out over several years. This was the third renewal vote required under the 2010 law and none of the results have been close in either city.
 
In the latest round, 76 percent Kansas City voters supported retaining the earnings tax. The city renewed the tax with 77 percent support in 2016 and 78 percent in favor in 2011. In St. Louis, 79 percent of voters endorsed keeping the tax this year. Voters there previously renewed the tax with 72 percent support in 2016 and 90 percent in favor in 2011.
House Moves to Exempt Stimulus Checks from State Tax
The House of Representatives on April 7 granted first-round approval on a voice vote to legislation that would exempt the recent federal stimulus payments – and any additional such checks that Missourians might receive in the future – from being subject to state income taxes. A second, recorded vote is required to advance the bill to the Senate.
 
Because the purpose of federal stimulus payments is to immediately inject money into the economy through increased individual spending, it has long been the practice for Missouri lawmakers to exempt such payments from state taxation in order to maximize the economic benefit. The tax exemption measure is House Bill 991.
Vacant Lot Project
I was contacted last week by a representative of the Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) for help identifying community leaders who are interested in fixing up vacant lots in our area. In an effort to preserve communities and reduce pollution, HCA is working with local organizations and stakeholders to access vacant lots and make the necessary improvements. The Urban Neighborhood Initiative has several templates for similar vacant lot projects.  

If you or someone you know might be interested in participating, I encourage you to reach out to their technical advisory group by contacting Hilary Noonan at hilary@syntaxlanddesign.com or (816) 309-0655. 
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
Beginning April 9, ALL Missourians will be eligible to receive the vaccine. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine when it become available, I encourage you to be put on the wait-list at any of the locations listed below. 

If you have not been able to get vaccinated, I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 map to find a vaccination site near you. I have been told that the following places are currently offering vaccines in Kansas City: 
If you register at more than one location, be sure to call to remove your name from other lists and free your spot for someone else who wants the vaccine.
Hope Faith Homeless Assistance has also partnered with Heart to Heart International to those who are experiencing homelessness and those working with the homeless population. If you or someone you know might qualify, visit the Hope Faith website or call their office at 816-705-0505.
State government can be hard to navigate. If you need assistance with a state department or with unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps, or other state benefits call my office at (573) 751-3129. We can also guide you to community resources such as rent and utility assistance, food distribution, and COVID-19 related issues. My staff and I are here to help in any way we can. 
District 22 Staff




Kaylee Bauer
201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 102
Phone: (573) 751-3129
kaylee.bauer@house.mo.gov 
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State Representative Yolanda Young · 201 W Capitol Ave · Jefferson City, MO 65101-1556 · USA

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