The Halfway Mark
The Missouri Legislature has reached the halfway mark in the 2021 session. Next week we begin our mid-term recess, and will return to Jefferson City to resume our work on March 22. This week we moved a bevy of bills forward in hopes of clearing the decks for more complex issues when we get back. For those interested in following along, you can always find the status of any Senate legislation online at www.senate.mo.gov.
This week, my bill to protect small businesses and frontline health care workers from pandemic-related lawsuits advanced in the House of Representatives. I presented Senate Bill 51 to the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform and encouraged the members to pass the bill and move it along for a vote in the House chamber. I believe this legislation will provide Missouri businesses the confidence to return to normal operations and help our state move on from COVID-19. In January, Governor Parson highlighted COVID-19 liability protections as his No. 1 priority for the 2021 session.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee finished its review of my property tax assessment legislation this week, issuing “Do Pass” recommendations for both Senate Bill 131 and Senate Joint Resolution 12. If passed, both of these proposals will help curb runaway property assessments. The resolution asks voters to amend Missouri’s Constitution, granting the legislature the authority to cap property assessments. The bill imposes limits on assessment increases, declaring that property assessments cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is higher, during a two-year assessment cycle. I look forward to presenting these taxpayer protection measures to the full Senate in just a few weeks.
Another bill coming up for floor discussion is Senate Bill 129, my anti-doxing legislation that protects law enforcement officers. This measure makes it a felony to knowingly publish personal information about a law enforcement officer online with the intention of threatening or causing bodily harm or death. It’s already a misdemeanor to “dox” an individual. My bill increases the penalty when a law enforcement officer is the target of intimidation. I’m optimistic my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will agree to support this important measure.
It’s been a busy and productive first half of the 101st General Assembly. Our spring recess will allow us to go back home and visit with constituent groups back in our districts. With more than 650 separate pieces of legislation introduced in the Senate, and nearly 1,500 in the House, we have our work cut out for us when we return. I’ll be sure to keep you informed as the session progresses.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.