Moving Through the Legislative Process
It was another busy week in the Missouri State Capitol, as lawmakers continue to shepherd priority bills through the legislative process.
On March 28, the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, which I chair, heard testimony on three bills. Senate Bill 1157 creates the Specialty Agriculture Crops Act, which will require the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) to establish a specialty agricultural crops loan program for family farmers. To prevent a patchwork of veterinary medicine rules across the state, Senate Bill 1058 ensures regulations for this important area of medicine come from the General Assembly, rather than political subdivisions like St. Louis. Lastly, Senate Bill 1152 adds utility vehicles used for agricultural purposes to the list of farm machinery and equipment eligible for a sales tax exemption. I hope to send these bills to the full Senate in the near future.
Already on the Senate floor is Senate Bill 850, a criminal law omnibus bill, which we discussed this week. Among other provisions, the bill contains my Senate Bill 664, which closes a loophole in current state law regarding those eligible for parole. My legislation makes individuals found guilty of second degree murder when they were under the age of 18 ineligible for early parole. This will ensure these murderers stay behind bars to serve the entirety of their sentence. While the legislation was debated this week, it still requires two rounds of approval before it can move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Additionally, the General Assembly continues to work on the issue of congressional redistricting. This is a process which occurs every ten years where congressional district boundaries are redrawn to reflect changes to the state population. The Missouri Senate recently passed a modified version of House Bill 2117, containing the Senate’s proposed congressional map. So far, the House has rejected the Senate’s changes to the bill and has asked for a conference committee to meet and discuss a path forward on the proposal.
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.