Sen. Karla Eslinger’s Legislative Column for March 28, 2022

Moving Bills Through Committee

The Missouri Senate returned from its one-week mid-session recess with a renewed focus on moving legislation forward. We had a busy week of committee hearings and floor action, and I was pleased to have a number of my bills heard in committee. Here are a few of the measures I’m working on that saw activity during the past week.

Senate Bill 1153 — The Senate Professional Registration Committee heard testimony on this legislation, which creates a licensing exemption for credentialed professionals from other states who come to Missouri to participate in “innovative readiness training (IRT) missions” through the Department of Defense. These training missions often involve health fairs and other events that provide services to civilians at no cost. The issue was brought to me by the Division of Professional Registration on behalf of the Delta Regional Authority. That group has hosted IRT events throughout southeast Missouri in the past and anticipates similar missions in the 33rd District. As it stands now, a medical professional from another state who participated in an IRT mission would have to fill out all the paperwork and pay the same fees required of anyone setting up a permanent practice in Missouri. My legislation waives that requirement and allows them to work here temporarily under an out-of-state certification. Plans are underway for an IRT mission in south-central Missouri this summer, so I’m eager to get this legislation passed and clear the way for bringing much-needed medical services to some of the poorest areas of the state.

Senate Bill 784 — Also this week, the Small Business and Industry Committee held a hearing on my legislation to bring more oversight and structure to administrative law judges who rule on workers’ compensation cases. I sponsored this legislation at the request of the Department of Labor, who recognized shortcomings in its own ability to monitor the performance of administrative law judges. This is a good governance bill that I hope will bring greater structure and support to our workers’ compensation administration.

Senate Bill 1072 — This bill makes a number of changes to the existing Missouri One Start workforce development program. Based on guidance from the Department of Economic Development, the legislation will help bring greater efficiency to this successful program and expand economic opportunities throughout Missouri. I was honored to present SB 1072 to the Senate Economic Development Committee, and I’m grateful to witnesses representing the department, community colleges and chambers of commerce who testified in favor of the legislation.

Senate Bill 1077 — Even before I presented this legislation to the Senate Education Committee this week, SB 1077 got a boost from an article posted on Forbes magazine’s website. The magazine said the bill “would link the funding of public universities and community colleges directly to their students’ earnings after enrollment. Schools which deliver higher average earnings for their students would receive more funding from the state.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Ensuring our Missouri tax dollars are spent wisely means having fiscal accountability when budgeting public dollars for institutions of higher education. We want to help our students be able to find good paying jobs, but we also must encourage schools to build the workforce Missouri needs in the future.

Senate Bill 1134 — My legislation to expand Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine” was heard by the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee this week. Currently, Missourians are allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves in their residence or vehicle. This act adds that a person may also use deadly force to defend themselves from harm in a place of employment or any place of business where the individual using such force has a right to be. Protecting the Second Amendment will always be a top priority of mine.

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.