Hitting the Ground Running
On Jan. 10, the Missouri General Assembly began its first full week of legislative activity of the 2022 legislative session, and already we’re tackling some of the big issues.
Over in the Missouri House of Representatives, lawmakers on the Budget Committee have been going over a supplemental budget proposal to help fund state government through the remaining fiscal year. This supplemental budget also includes a 5.5% pay raise for state workers. I, as well as other lawmakers, believe this increase will help ensure state workers are compensated competitively and reduce employee turnover. The supplemental budget also includes plans to distribute federal pandemic aid. Meanwhile, the House’s Special Committee on Redistricting has been reviewing proposed changes to Missouri’s eight congressional districts to reflect our state’s current population layout. This issue will likely take center stage in the near future, as we face a time crunch between now and candidate filing slated to begin later this year.
Back in the Senate, dozens of bills have already been referred to various Senate committees. In the coming weeks, we’ll start seeing more and more committees begin holding hearings on these bills and taking testimony from citizens in support or opposition to them. As chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee, an issue I know I’m eager to dig into is renewing some recently expired agriculture tax credit programs, including the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) programs. These programs have helped bring an estimated $247 million in direct and indirect benefits to Missouri since 2000. While we weren’t able to resolve this issue in the final hectic days of the 2021 session, I am confident this year we’ll be able to find a path forward on them. Again, I’m eager to get these important programs back up and running in order to help our hardworking farmers and keep our state’s No. 1 industry strong for years to come.
As always, I am honored to serve the citizens of the 6th Senatorial District. 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 senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.