Sen. Karla Eslinger’s Legislative Column for Jan. 6, 2022

The 2022 Session Begins

This past week I returned to Jefferson City for the start of the 2022 legislative session. It was great to get back to the Capitol and reconnect with my colleagues. We have many important issues ahead of us in the next five months, and I look forward to working with my fellow senators to make Missouri government more responsive and better serve the residents of the 33rd Senatorial District.

Before returning to the Capitol, I had the opportunity to present a Senior Service Award on behalf of the lieutenant governor to Bobby Grisham, Ozark County’s beloved “Popcorn Man.” Bobby has been exemplary in his dedication to his community, having raised thousands of dollars for local schools through his popcorn sales. Congratulations to Bobby.

Another neat thing that happened this week was the release of “You Can, Too!” a book produced in cooperation with the 11 currently serving female members of the Missouri Senate. Aimed at encouraging childhood literacy and inspiring young girls, the book recounts the history of 36 women who have served in the Senate. We had a wonderful reception at the Capitol and were joined by eight former women senators.

We have our work cut out for us this year. Before the first gavel fell on the Second Regular Session of the 101st General Assembly, we already had well over 1,000 separate pieces of legislation before us. Of those, 13 were measures that I introduced. I’m confident there will be more coming in the weeks ahead.

My pre-filed bills address a range of issues, including education, employment practices, public safety and local government, among others. A couple of highlights include Senate Bill 702, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to their workers’ sincerely held religious, ethical and moral objections to COVID-19 requirements. Such accommodations could include exemptions from vaccines or testing. Another measure I filed, Senate Bill 704, provides third-class counties greater flexibility in budgeting salaries to better reflect limited funding resources in rural areas.

I’ll discuss these and other issues in future reports as the session progresses. For now, I want to express my appreciation for the citizens of the 33rd Senatorial District. You elected me to represent you and your interests at the state Capitol and I am humbled. I will never take your support for granted. If you find yourself in Jefferson City between now and the end of session in May, please stop by my office so I can meet you and hear from you directly. If you can’t make it to the Capitol, you can always call or email to express your views or seek assistance. You can also find more information about pending legislation, including the bills I sponsor, online at

It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011.  You can also visit my webpage at, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.