Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for the Week of Dec. 2, 2019

Introducing My Legislative Priorities

It seems just like yesterday the 2019 legislative session was wrapping up, but preparations for the upcoming 2020 legislative session have already started. While session won’t start again until Jan. 8, 2020, lawmakers have already begun filing legislation for the upcoming legislative session. By pre-filing their legislation, lawmakers have the opportunity to introduce their legislative priorities and have them ready to go on the first day of session.

I have pre-filed several bills this year. One piece of legislation incredibly important to our community is Senate Bill 585. This bill conveys unused state land to Cole County to create a port right here in Jefferson City. Efforts to build the port are already underway with the creation of the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri in 2018, and this land transfer will only further the project. I believe a port will provide jobs and an economic boost to our community.

Another bill impacting Jefferson City is Senate Bill 586. Now, it’s no secret that downtown Jefferson City has some of the most historic buildings in the state, ranging from the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, the Supreme Court building and more. However, these buildings must be maintained if they are going to remain a part of the Jefferson City landscape. That is why I am proposing the Capitol Complex Tax Credit Act. This legislation will incentivize people to give to restoration and perseveration efforts in the Capitol Complex area.

I also filed Senate Bill 662 which will allow deer jerky to be donated to local food pantries through programs such as Share the Harvest. Too often, hunters want to donate meat to food pantries, but the pantries and the families in need don’t always have enough cold storage to take in all the available deer meat. By allowing deer jerky to be donated, we can provide families in need with a shelf-stable, protein-packed product without requiring large amounts of fridge or freezer space.

Other bills I have pre-filed this year include:

  • Senate Bill 587 extends the sunset for collecting fees to fund the Secretary of State’s technology trust fund from Dec. 31, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2026.
  • Senate Bill 660 would allow school districts which are split across multiple counties, such as the Gasconade R-II School District, to use the county with the highest dollar value modifier to determine school funding. This change would allow schools to access more funding through the state’s Foundation Formula.
  • Senate Bill 661 establishes the Prescribed Burning Act, which will encourage the use of licensed prescribed burn professionals to keep property safe during controlled burns.

I look forward to working to pass these pieces of legislation during the 2020 legislation. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at