Connect with us


Missouri ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passes Senate committee, more Legislature updates this week



JEFFERSON CITY — Follow our live updates from the Missouri State Capitol this week as lawmakers hold hearings on major proposals and other priorities come up for debate in both the House and Senate.

Welcome to the News-Leader’s statehouse live blog, where we’ll bring you newsworthy tidbits and updates throughout the week from the Missouri State Capitol. Check back on this page throughout the week to see the latest, or visit to see stories on major developments, which will continue regularly. 

Questions, tips or other feedback? Email or message politics reporter Galen Bacharier at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

A slow Wednesday as Chiefs faithful gather in KC

Jefferson City was without any significant action Wednesday, as a sizable portion of the legislature, lobbyists and staff who usually occupy the building flocked to Kansas City for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade. The House still held hearings this morning, but nearly all of the hearings on the Senate side were cancelled. Both chambers gaveled in and out quickly without any major votes or action.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

Bill restricting race curriculum, requiring transparency from districts passes Senate

A bill that aims to restrict how schools teach concepts of race and racism passed the Senate Tuesday afternoon, despite sharp opposition from Black members of the chamber.

Senate Bill 4, from Sen. Andrew Koenig of St. Louis, also creates a slate of new requirements for districts to post their textbooks, curriculum, syllabi, guest speakers and salaries online for the public to see. It comes as a response to national concerns among Republicans and conservatives who have increasingly scrutinized curriculum relating to race and history.

Read more about the debate and legislation here.

“There’s certain things I want prohibited, like some of those ‘oppression matrixes’ … or putting the white kids in a corner and saying ‘you are the oppressors’ and putting Black kids in a corner saying ‘you’re the oppressed,'” Koenig said.

Members on both sides of the aisle weren’t totally satisfied with the legislation. Democrats, particularly Black members, were scathing in their criticism of the law, arguing it would burden teachers in sensitive conversations about slavery and Black history.

“You are trying to hamstring the teaching and education of children,” said Sen. Karla May, a St. Louis Democrat.

Several of the more conservative members of the chamber also took issue with some of the language that came out of negotiations with Democrats, arguing that it could be stronger. Koenig affirmed that the transparency language was among the “strongest … in the country.”

The legislation passed with a 21-12 vote, with two Republicans, Sens. Mike Moon of Ash Grove and Jill Carter of Joplin joining Democrats in voting no.

Senate committee passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, another weighs trans health care restrictions

Legislation aimed at LGBTQ+ youth remains a focus for another week in Senate committees.

On Tuesday morning, the education committee passed Senate Bill 134 — legislation that would prevent school staff, including teachers, nurses and counselors, from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation with students unless they’re a mental health provider. Opponents and LGBTQ+ advocates have called the proposal “the most extreme ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill” in the country.

Members and advocates of the LGBTQ+ community stand in the Missouri State Capitol rotunda following a press conference in Jefferson City on Jan. 24, 2023. Leaders called on attendees to oppose a slate of bills aimed at transgender youth.

One Republican, Sen. Elaine Gannon of De Soto, joined Democrats in voting against the bill in committee. It now heads to the full Senate, where leadership can choose to bring it up for debate if they choose.

Minutes after passage of that bill, another Senate committee convened to hear testimony on three bills that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors in Missouri. In a previous hearing on similar bills across the building, advocates warned that the outlawing of such care could lead to harm among LGBTQ+ youth.

Insurance policies, tax-free diapers among targets of Monday hearings

Among the legislation heard in committee meetings on Monday:

  • A pair of bills that would make diapers and feminine hygiene products like tampons exempt from the state’s sales tax. Read about the bills here.
  • A proposal that takes aim at insurance policies that prevent patients from utilizing outside assistance to help pay out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. Read about that debate here.

House passes state worker pay raise

The House passed an emergency spending request Monday afternoon that includes an 8.7% pay raise for state workers, sending it to the Senate with just over two weeks until the governor’s March 1 deadline.

The Missouri General Assembly returned to session at the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City on Jan. 4, 2023.

The spending bill also increases the pay per hour for evening, overnight and weekend shifts in congregate care facilities that require 24/7 staffing. It comes as Missouri’s government continues to struggle mightily to attract and retain workers, especially in key divisions and departments.

More:MoDOT struggles to keep up with worker turnover as governor requests I-70 expansion

It is expected to continue through the other side of the building with few issues. The Senate budget chair, Sen. Lincoln Hough of Springfield, previously requested that the state address a growing issue with black vultures on cattle ranches in southern Missouri; more than $600,000 has been added into this spending request to address the mitigation of those vultures.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply