Legislation springs forward

By State Sen. Ben Brown, Missouri's 26th District
Posted 3/22/23

I was disappointed when we abruptly adjourned early for spring break and did not pass Senate Bill 49, the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation,” or SAFE, Act.

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Legislation springs forward


I was disappointed when we abruptly adjourned early for spring break and did not pass Senate Bill 49, the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation,” or SAFE, Act.

This legislation protects children under the age of 18 from gender transition procedures and treatments. I was one of seven senators who signed a letter to leadership urging them to take this issue back up for debate and pass it upon our return to the Capitol. I have been assured by Senate leadership that we will indeed return to the SAFE Act following spring break.

The week of March 6 started on a positive note when the Local Government and Elections Committee passed my Senate Joint Resolution 30. Pending voter approval, this constitutional amendment will limit voting rights to citizens only, prohibit ranked choice voting in Missouri and maintain our state’s one person — one vote policy.

On March 7, I presented two proposals to the Education and Workforce Development Committee.

Senate Bill 234 will change the date of school board elections from April or August municipal-level elections to the regular, on-cycle elections in November. The decisions made by our local school boards have serious implications for our future leaders and direct communities, yet they are selected by a small percentage of registered voters, sometimes as low as 5%, who turn out for these off-cycle elections.

The benefits of moving school board candidates to the November ballot will be better community representation, less influence from special interest groups and improved accountability of these local elected officials.

Later in that hearing, I explained the advantages of Senate Bill 411 and allowing children who are homeschooled to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities in the school district of their residence. The Missouri State High School Activities Association requires high school students to be enrolled in two courses to be eligible for participation, and it bans junior high school students if they are not enrolled in a public school.

Some local communities have even more stringent requirements than these.

Students should not be deprived of the enrichment and important life skills these activities provide just because their parents have decided to take their child’s education in their own hands. My legislation would remove some of these stringent requirements because every child deserves the chance to participate in their local public school’s activities.

I closed out the week’s committee work on March 8 when I presented Senate Joint Resolution 39 to the Senate General Laws committee.

This constitutional amendment would freeze property tax assessments for citizens who have reached full retirement age. Many of our retired citizens live on fixed incomes and have a hard enough time covering their rising property taxes. Helping our seniors to remain in their homes is a benefit to families and our communities as a whole. Several senior advocacy organizations testified in support. The annual legislative spring break began after deliberations on March 8.

(This piece was edited since it did not appear in the March 15 edition as originally intended).