With a week and a half left before lawmakers return to Jefferson City for the 2020 legislative session, a combined 968 bills have already been filed by representatives and senators.
In the House, with 162 members, 682 bills have been prefiled since Dec. 1 and dozens more are sure to come as the session progresses into the middle of May.
During the 2019 session, more than 1,250 bills were filed in the House and 46 were eventually passed by both houses and sent to Gov. Mike Parson for signature.
To break that down even further, 19 of the House bills were appropriations and budget bills passed every year, leaving only about 25 new laws generated from the House of Representatives in 2019.
Because of its size and population, Franklin County is represented by four separate individuals in the House who combined have filed nearly a dozen bills on a wide range of issues.
State Rep. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, has prefiled five bills this session. Many of which are repeats from previous sessions he hopes to have success with this time around.
• HB 1879 — Prohibits the use of handheld electronic wireless communications devices while driving noncommercial and commercial motor vehicles; but allows the use of such devices when used hands-free by operators of noncommercial motor vehicles who are fully licensed and 18 years of age or older.
• HB 1880 — Designates the second Wednesday in May as “Celiac Awareness Day.”
• HB 1881 — Designates the first Friday in May each year as “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.”
• HB 1882 — Prohibits children from being placed in the custody of individuals who have been found guilty of the offense of sexual trafficking of a child in the first degree.
• HB 1883 — Provides that it is unlawful to distribute, deliver, or sell a drug-masking product.
State Rep. John Simmons, R-Krakow, will begin his second session in the Legislature after first being elected in November 2018.
He has prefiled two bills going into this session involving elections and ballot initiatives.
• HB 1600 — Modifies several provisions relating to elections.
• HB 1811 — Modifies provisions for initiative petitions and referendums.
State Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, is also beginning her second session in the Legislature and has prefiled two bills relating to child discipline in schools.
• HB 1568 — Modifies provisions relating to seclusion and restraint policies in public schools.
• HB 1597 — Requires a parent, caretaker relative, putative father, or identified noncustodial parent to cooperate with the child support program to be eligible for SNAP.
State Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, has not yet filed his bills for the 2020 session, but says he plans to file them in consecutive order before the session begins.
Griesheimer said he was approached by the St. Louis Police Officers Association to file a bill which would eliminate the residency requirement for all police officers in St. Louis.
Griesheimer, who sits on the House Transportation Committee, says he will make another attempt at raising the gasoline tax in 2020.
Lastly, Griesheimer said he plans to file legislation to address a persistent issue in the construction industry.
Under current law, Missouri One Call gives underground facility owners two working days to mark their underground utilities.
His bill would add consequences for underground facility owners to ensure these locations are properly marked on time.
Griesheimer told The Missourian he has at least two more bills he is planning to file soon, but he did not divulge many details other than one involves electric vehicles.
There are 34 senators in the Missouri Legislature who have prefiled a combined 286 bills and an additional 25 resolutions.
Franklin County is represented by State. Sen. Dave Schatz, who currently is president pro tem and is the highest ranking senator in Missouri behind only the lieutenant governor.
His duties as pro tem keep Schatz from filing a large quantity of bills like previous years, but the rank also allows him to file bigger ticket bills, including some suggested from the governor.
This session, Schatz is focusing on his crusade against what he has labeled illegal gaming machines springing up all across the state.
• SB 557 — Modifies provisions relating to illegal gambling.
• SB 558 — Provides that personnel of certain municipal police forces will not be subject to a residency requirement.
• SB 559 — Establishes the Missouri Statewide Mechanical Contractor Licensing Act.
• SB 775 — Modifies provisions regarding members of the board of directors of a fire protection district.
The 2020 legislative session will begin at noon Wednesday, Jan. 8, and will run until May 15.