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State Sen. Barbara Washington On COVID-19 Business Liability And Police Residency Requirements

barbara washington
Harrison Sweazea | Missouri Senate
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Sen. Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City

State Sen. Barbara Washington is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where she spoke with St. Louis Public Radio political correspondent (and fellow graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism) Jason Rosenbaum about key issues in the 2021 session.

Washington represents Missouri’s 9th District, which takes in a portion of Kansas City, Raytown and Unity Village. She was elected last year after serving in the House for a little over two years.

Here’s what Washington talked about on the program:

  • Legislation overhauling policing practices that includes a provision removing the residency requirement for the Kansas City Police Department. Washington said she’s opposed to that idea.
  • The debate over COVID-19 liability legislation, which passed the Senate earlier this session. But since lawmakers did not adopt an emergency clause, people will be able to sue businesses without any limitations until Aug. 28.
  • Some of the bills she’s working on, including a measure seeking to expand urban farming around the state. She also plans to be involved in the debate over tax increment financing.
  • Whether her colleagues would still express rhetorical opposition to the nearly $2.8 billion in federal coronavirus relief money arriving in Missouri soon — and to a separate proposal within the American Rescue Plan that would provide over a billion dollars if Missouri expands Medicaid.

In addition to holding a degree in journalism from Mizzou, Washington earned an MBA and a law degree. She is the first Black female attorney to ever be elected to the Missouri Senate. She said being an attorney gives her the ability to look deeper into the wording of bills than her colleagues who aren’t attorneys.

Washington was first elected to the Missouri House in 2017 after her predecessor, Randy Dunn, resigned to take a job in Nebraska. She won reelection in 2018 before deciding to run for the open 9th District Senate seat last year. Washington easily won the Democratic primary, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Barbara Washington on Twitter: @beedubya1967

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Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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