JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus is pushing forward with legislation to address the concerns and priorities of their caucus, several of which have already been referred to committees this session.
Since session began in January, nine bills sponsored by members of the MLBC have been first and second read and referred to committees:
- HB 317 (Rep. Jerome Barnes) Allows persons seventy years of age or older to be excused from serving on a petit or grand jury.
- HB 132 (Rep. Chris Carter) Requires certain public schools to offer breakfast after the bell.
- HB506 (Rep. Chris Carter) Creates the Every Child Can Learn Act to require turnaround options for certain underperforming schools, create personalized learning plans for certain students, address student promotion, and require letter grades for public schools.
- HB 286 (Rep. Bruce Franks) Authorizes a tax credit for establishing a new business in a distressed community.
- HB 617 (Rep. Brandon Ellington) Requires election authorities to make available at least one electronic voting machine per polling location for blind or visually impaired voters at an election in order to comply with federal law.
- HB 93 (Rep. Alan Green) Establishes the Missouri Minority Business Enterprise Loan Program
- HB 101 (Rep. Alan Green) Modifies provisions of law relating to the REAL ID Act of 2005
- HB 275 (Rep. Jay Mosley) Prohibits publishing of the names of lottery winners
- HB 683 (Rep. Rachael Proudie) Allows victims of domestic violence to be released from certain lease agreements if documentation of domestic violence is provided to the landlord
These MLBC bills reflect the priorities of MLBC, which include reforming the criminal justice system and eliminating barriers to re-entry; combating voter suppression; and focusing on education.
The MLBC represents 693,391 black Missourians, and works tirelessly to ensure that black stakeholders have a seat at the table to give the African-American community fair representation during the legislative process.
“We are experiencing an interesting time in state government. Funding has seemingly dried up for pivotal community based programs, and partisan gridlock is constant. Communication is a key aspect in our mission to improve our community,” Rep. Steven Roberts explained. “As chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, it is a great honor to serve within an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for African Americans. I will diligently work in a unified effort with our membership to continue fostering economic growth within the black community by ensuring statewide inclusion and diversity. I will work to expand on our collective leadership as we continue to effect real, positive change.”
While the MLBC has predominantly been made up of members of the Democratic Party, with a historic five members holding leadership positions in the State Democratic Caucus, the founding members of the caucus have always envisioned a non-partisan organization. Consequently, the MLBC has a long history of bipartisan collaboration and members who are both Democrat and Republican.
As Congressman William L. Clay, Sr. once said: “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies… just permanent interests.”