State Rep. Justin Alferman

More than 125 bills have already been filed for the 2018 Missouri legislative session set to begin Jan. 3, 2018.

Prefiling of bills opened Friday and State Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, was one of the first to file bills for the next legislative session.

The first is a rehashed ethics bill he thinks will be one of, if not the first to move through the House of Representatives next year.

“Having talked to the speaker, I’m pretty confident we will get some version out of the House again,” Alferman said. “Last year it made it to the Senate floor before the implosion.”

The implosion Alferman is referring to is the animosity that sprung up between the two Houses that caused legislative efforts to come to a screeching halt.

Compromises were eventually made on both sides, but they came too late in the session to save many bills which had a chance of passage due to time simply running out.

Although 2018 is a clean slate, Alferman said dustups between the Senate and Gov. Eric Greitens and disagreements between House and Senate leadership may already be forming storm clouds over 2018 legislative success.

The ethics reforms proposed by Alferman is designed to restrict individual gifts to legislators by lobbyists while still allowing larger groups to hold functions at the Capitol where lawmakers are invited and may receive gifts.

“This is about lobster dinners and tickets to sporting events,” Alferman said. “It wouldn’t affect grassroots events.”

Other Bills

With bill filing allowed well into March, Alferman said he will most likely file a total of seven or eight this year.

“That’s fewer than I would normally file,” he said. “I’m not going to file a bill just because it looks good for election. That’s incredibly dishonest. My bills are usually rehashes or constituent driven.”

• In addition to the ethics rehash, Alferman on Monday prefiled HB 1442, which is another version of a previous bill affecting the filling of county commissioner seats should they become vacant between election cycles.

• A bill allowing small produce farmers to purchase items with commodity which is a reworking of legislation that already allows grain producers who sell commodities to have their profits sent directly to other merchants to avoid paying certain taxes.

The changes will allow smaller vegetable and fruit farms to reap the benefits the larger grain producers already do.

• A bill that will make it a Class E felony to tamper with a law enforcement officer. Similar legislation already exists making it a felony to tamper with any member of the judicial system and correctional officers.

• A bill that will require trucks allowed to carry only one license plate to display it on the back of the truck.

Budget

As it was last year, the state budget also will be on the forefront for Alferman as he serves as the budget committee vice chairman.

“Budget talks are already beginning,” he said. “Tax cuts passed four years ago will take effect this year as well. It’s nice knowing the economy in Missouri is healthy.”

Last Year

Last year Alferman sponsored 11 bills.

The 2017 Missouri legislative session ended May 30 and resulted with 24 fewer bills passed than in 2016.

In all, 1,775 bills were introduced in both the House and Senate and only 114 ran the gauntlet and made it to passage.

In the House, 1,231 bills were introduced and 76 were passed. In the Senate, 544 bills were introduced and 38 were passed.