Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for May 17, 2021

Wrapping Up the 2021 Legislative Session

After months of hard work and late nights, the 2021 legislative session is now over. Coming to a close on May 14, lawmakers in the State Capitol were able to pass some important pieces of legislation.

For one, we were able to pass Senate Bill 36, establishing the Capitol Complex Tax Credit program. I sponsored this legislation, and its goal is to preserve historic buildings located throughout downtown Jefferson City for generations of Missourians to enjoy. Buildings like the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion and others need financial support and investment if we expect them to stand the test of time. Through SB 36, individuals can donate to restoration and preservation efforts for these buildings and receive a portion of their donation back as a tax credit. I believe this will incentivize private donations to these projects and ultimately, help reduce the cost to the state.

On the agriculture front, the General Assembly passed House Bill 369, dealing with land management. Included in this bill is legislation I sponsored in the Senate, creating the Prescribed Burning Act. I hope this act will promote the safe, responsible use of controlled burns by licensed prescribed burn professionals throughout the state. House Bill 369 also contains provisions regarding feral hogs. For instance, the bill allows any person who recklessly or knowingly releases swine to live in the wild to be fined up to $2,000. I hope this will help deter individuals from further contributing to our state’s feral hog problem. We also passed House Bill 574, clarifying who can conduct inspections of agricultural facilities. I believe this legislation will help ensure inspections are conducted by qualified professionals and promote security on Missouri farms.

Lastly, through Senate Bill 53, we were able to enhance protections for Head State buses throughout the state. While these buses are responsible for transporting some of our youngest students, our laws do not afford them the same level of protection as regular school buses. With this new legislation, we can bring Head Start bus protections more in line with our school bus protections and ensure all Missouri children get to school safely each and every day.

Overall, I think we had a productive legislative session, and I look forward to seeing the governor sign these bills into law over the coming months. As always, it is an honor to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be service to you, please feel free to contact us at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at