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Representative Yolanda Young's Newsletter

October 8, 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,

I want to thank those of you who took the time to attend our town hall on Saturday, September 25. With the help of Concord Fortress of Hope Church and Dr. Traci Johnson from Truman Medical Centers, we were able to have a productive conversation about critical race theory, redistricting, crime, and the COVID-19 vaccine. If you want to watch the recording of the event, you may do so using the link below. 
Watch the video recording of the town hall here. 
Remember, we are always here to help you with anything you may need. For assistance, call my office at (573) 751-3129 or email me at yolanda.young@house.mo.gov

Yours in Service,

Yolanda Young
See if You Qualify for Coverage Under Missouri Medicaid Expansion
Healthcare coverage under Medicaid Expansion began October 1, 2021. If you qualify, complete an application for coverage here

For more information on whether you qualify, Truman Medical Centers is offering free financial counseling. 
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Now Available

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for the administration of third booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine was the first with trial data sufficient for the FDA to fully evaluate safety and efficacy for emergency use authorization, which is expected for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines soon.

The interim guidance from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and additional inclusions made by Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., MPH, recommends boosters for the following groups six months after completion of the original two-dose Pfizer series.

  • Individuals ages 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and individuals ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions SHOULD receive the third dose. 
  • Individuals ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions and individuals 18 to 64 with increased occupational risk, such as front-line health care and essential service sector workers, MAY choose to receive the third dose for enhanced immune response. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has opened access to the booster doses for eligible Missourians, including all initiates during 1A and 1B Tiers 1 and 2. There are 488,560 eligible Missourians who completed their prime Pfizer-BioNTech series six or more months ago. If you are uncertain of when or where to receive your Pfizer booster dose, please consult your physician and also consider receiving your annual influenza vaccine at the same time.

KC Cornucopia Fall Festival
Next weekend, October 15-17 is the KC Cornucopia Fall Festival! Join the community in downtown Kansas City for this free outdoor event to kick off the fall season! 

There will be numerous family-friendly activities for you to enjoy, as well as local food, drinks, art, and more from local KC businesses! 
Kansas City Power & Light District
​Grand Boulevard, Walnut Street and 14th Street
​Kansas City, MO 64106

Friday, October 15th - Carnival ONLY 5-9PM (Grand St.)
Saturday, October 16th  - Carnival and Vendor 11AM - 8PM
Sunday, October 17th - Carnival ONLY Noon-6PM 
(Grand St.)
Judge Deals Schmitt Setbacks
in School Masks Lawsuit
Attorney General Eric Schmitt suffered two major losses on September 28 in his efforts to block Missouri school districts from enforcing mask mandates. However, Schmitt dodged total defeat when the judge declined to completely dismiss the case.
 
Schmitt sued the Columbia Public Schools on August 24 after the district adopted a mandatory mask requirement for students, faculty, and staff in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the need to shift to remote learning to contain outbreaks.
 
After a hearing on various motions filed in the case, Boone County Circuit Judge Brouck Jacobs denied Schmitt’s request to grant the case class-action status so that any ruling would apply to all other Missouri school districts. As a result, Schmitt will have to individually sue every district if he wants to challenge their mask requirements.
 
Jacobs also refused to grant a preliminary injunction barring the Columbia district from enforcing its mask requirement. However, Jacobs denied the district’s motion to dismiss, meaning the case will continue.
 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor masking in schools, including for vaccinated adults. So far, none of the three COVID-19 vaccinations in widespread use in the U.S. have been approved for children under age 12. Although children appeared less susceptible to COVID-19 early in the pandemic, infection rates among children have soared with the highly contagious delta variant.
 
Schmitt has made his legal efforts to thwart local government responses to the continuing pandemic a central component of his campaign for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who is retiring after the 2022 elections.
State Supreme Court Hears
Referendum Petition Case
The Missouri Supreme Court heard a case September 29 that could determine whether the secretary of state is empowered to essentially kill referendum petitions he doesn’t like by dragging out the process for approving them for circulation until supporters can’t realistically meet the deadline for gathering the more than 100,000 signatures needed to qualify for the statewide ballot.
 
The case dates to May 2019 when the General Assembly enacted House Bill 126 on the final day of the legislative session. The bill sought to criminalize most abortions after just eight weeks of pregnancy, along with other abortion restrictions. Opponents quickly filed a referendum petition, which blocks a bill passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor from taking effect unless approved by voters.
 
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft initially declared the petition unconstitutional because a portion of HB 126 was subject to an emergency clause causing it to take effect immediately upon being signed by the governor, and the state constitution prohibits referenda on bills that already have become law. After a legal challenge by petition organizers, the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District ruled on July 8, 2019, that the secretary of state has no authority to declare things unconstitutional and ordered Ashcroft to certify the petition.
 
However, Ashcroft didn’t immediately do so, noting that state law granted him up to 51 days to complete the job. He finally cleared the petition for circulation on August 14, 2019, just two weeks before the deadline for submitting the necessary signatures. Ashcroft’s actions prompted a follow-up lawsuit seeking to prevent him from blocking future referenda attempts.
 
In a December 2020 ruling, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem noted that for a bill passed on the final day of a legislative session, the deadline for submitting a referendum petition is just 90 days, but state law allows state officials to take away up to 51 of those days. As a result, Beetem said the relevant statutes unconstitutionally impede the right of citizens to force statewide votes on legislative acts and should no longer be enforced.
 
The Supreme Court will render a decision in the case, No Bans on Choice v. Ashcroft, at a future date. Meanwhile, enforcement of most of HB 126’s key provisions has remained blocked by a federal court for violating the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in Roe v. Wade protecting abortion rights.
State Fuel Tax Increased for
First Time Since 1996

Missouri’s statewide fuel tax went up by 2.5 cents per gallon on October 1, marking its first increase in 25 years and taking the state’s total fuel tax to 19.5 cents per gallon. The increase was authorized under legislation Governor Parson signed into law this summer.
 
Missouri’s fuel tax had remained at 17 cents per gallon since 1996, when the last 2 cents of an overall 6-cent increase approved by lawmakers in 1992 took effect. Under Senate Bill 262, four more 2.5-cent bumps in the tax will kick in every July 1 until it tops out at 29.5 cents per gallon in 2025.
 
When the full 12.5-cent hike called for by SB 262 is fully phased in, it is expected generate more than $513 million a year in additional revenue for state and local transportation projects. The first 2.5-cent increase is expected to bring in $77 million during the remaining nine months of the 2022 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
 
One unusual feature of SB 262 allows Missourians to annually apply for refunds on the new portion of the tax. However, it is expected few people will go through the trouble of maintaining receipts and filing annual refund requests with the Missouri Department of Revenue. The bill’s fiscal estimate predicts refunds of about $2.21 million for FY 2022, with the amount dropping to $1.81 million by the time the full 10.5-cent tax hike is fully implemented.

House Committee Grills Department of Social Services Over Missing Foster Care Kids
The House Committee on Children and Families, on which I have the pleasure of serving, questioned Missouri Department of Social Services leaders on October 5 over a scathing new federal report finding that nearly 1,000 children in foster care in the state went missing at some point in 2019 and that the agency lacks policies to effectively deal with the problem. However, the department had few answers for lawmakers.
 
The report by the Office of Inspector General at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was issued September 30. The inspector general’s office said it decided to undertake the review based on the concerns of its agents, who in 2019 assisted other federal and local agencies in helping to locate some of the 978 children who went missing from Missouri foster care that year.
 
“In cases reviewed in detail, the Missouri foster care agency rarely attempted to reduce children’s risk of going missing,” the report says. “Additionally, it failed to protect children who went missing from foster care and did not effectively use resources to assist in locating them. As a result, these children were exposed to additional risks associated with being missing from care, such as a heightened risk for sex trafficking and poorer outcomes related to health, safety, education and involvement in the criminal justice system.”
 
During a hearing of the House Children and Families Committee held just days after the report became public, social services department Director Jennifer Tidball acknowledged problems but offered little indication of what the department plans to do to fix them. Lawmakers are expected to continue their inquiries into the department.
High Court Hears Case on
St. Louis County Ticketing Practices
The Missouri Supreme Court heard in arguments on October 6 in a case to determine whether statutes imposing special limits on fine collection and municipal operations in St. Louis County that the court ruled unconstitutional four years ago should be reinstated because of a subsequent change in the court’s relevant precedent.
 
The case involves portions of a 2015 law, Senate Bill 5, imposing sweeping reforms aimed at reducing abusive municipal court and policing practices that emphasized generating revenue for city governments over public safety. Although most of the reforms apply statewide, two key provisions affect only municipalities in St. Louis County.
 
One caps the amount of revenue municipal governments in the county can collect from fines and fees at 12.5 percent of a municipality’s operating budget. All other Missouri cities are subject to a 20-percent cap. The other provision specific to St. Louis County imposes a variety of minimal standards for municipal operations and requires city police departments to be accredited.
 
Normandy and several other St. Louis County cities challenged the provisions for violating a state constitutional prohibition against “special laws” that apply only to certain jurisdictions without justification. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem blocked enforcement of both provisions in 2016. The state Supreme Court upheld Beetem’s ruling in 2017.
 
However, the high court subsequently overhauled its standard for reviewing special laws in an unrelated December 2019 case and invalidated much of its precedent on the subject, including its prior ruling involving SB 5. That prompted Attorney General Eric Schmitt to ask Beetem to lift his 2016 injunction barring enforcement of St. Louis County-specific provisions, a request Beetem granted in December 2020. Schmitt sponsored SB 5 while a state senator.
 
During the latest round of arguments, Supreme Court Judge Patricia Breckenridge noted the court has never before resurrected a statute it previously ruled unconstitutional, even if there was a subsequent change in interpretation. She suggested a more appropriate remedy might be for the legislature to re-enact the relevant provisions.
 
On the question of whether a “rational basis” exists for treating St. Louis County differently than Missouri’s other 113 counties, attorneys for the state said the county has a well-known reputation for so-called “taxation by citation” practices. However, the cities said the state offered no evidence that the practice is unique to St. Louis County and the evidence it did present relating to the county was several years out date. Judge Paul Wilson questioned whether the state can even raise that argument now since it failed to do so the first time the case was before the court.
 
The Supreme Court will issue a ruling a later date. The case is City of Normandy v. Michael Parson.
Judge Rules Against Move to
Bust Prison Guards’ Union
A Cole County judge has ordered Governor Parson’s administration to resume withholding union dues from the paychecks of prison guards, ruling the decision to cease doing so was “unconstitutional, arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.”
 
The Missouri Office of Administration, which handles payroll for state agencies, informed the Missouri Corrections Officers Association in December 2019 that it would cease withholding dues from the paychecks of the organization’s roughly 1,300 members. The move was widely seen as an attempt to bust the union by making it difficult to collect dues from members.
 
The administration originally claimed it could no longer withhold the dues because the union’s contract with the state Department of Corrections had expired, although negotiations on a new contract continue. However, since the state routinely withholds fees from other non-union employee organizations, it quickly shifted its rationale to claim the Corrections Officers Association wasn’t an employee organization since it included some auxiliary members who weren’t active state employees, such as retirees.
 
 
However, Circuit Judge Jon Beetem found that, too, was a pretext since OA continues to withhold dues and fees at the behest of other employee groups that have non-employee members. OA also refused to resume collecting dues from prison guards after their association changed its bylaws to no longer allow auxiliary members. Beetem declared an administrative rule OA enacted to justify its position unconstitutional.
 
“The Rule infringes on the constitutional rights of MOCOA and its members,” Beetem wrote. “It penalizes them for exercise of the right to organize and bargain collectively, by denying them payroll deduction authority, while other employee associations, who seek to promote the welfare of employees and to lobby like MOCOA, continue to receive the benefit.”
 
Beetem issued his order on September 27 but stayed enforcement until November 1 to give the Parson administration a chance to appeal. No appeal had yet been filed as of October 5. The case is Missouri Corrections Officers Association Inc. v. Missouri Office of Administration.
 
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Truman Medical Center is offering walk-in vaccinations at their two hospital campuses (2211 Charlotte and 7900 Lee’s Summit Road) 7am to 2pm Monday through Friday.  In addition, you can schedule a vaccine at www.trumed.org or by calling 816-404-CARE. 

ALL Missourians are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not been vaccinated, I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 map to find a vaccination site near you. The following places are currently offering vaccines in Kansas City: 
Anyone in need of a COVID-19 vaccine can receive one for FREE from KC CARE Health Center at the following Kansas City Public Library locations:

Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Wednesdays, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St.

Thursdays, Noon - 6 p.m.
North-East Branch, 6000 Wilson Ave.


Anyone hoping to get a vaccine can walk in to one of the Library clinic sessions as long as supplies last. No registration is required. Available for ages 12 and older. There is no cost to get the vaccine -- it is completely free.

The full schedule of vaccine clinics at Library locations can be found on the Library’s online calendar.
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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