Opinion

Last Day to File Bills

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

We reached a milestone in the 2022 legislative session this week. March 1 was the last day senators could file bills. I’ve been able to file some good legislation, and I’m looking forward to getting many of these across the finish line, either as stand-alone bills or as amendments to other measures. I thought it might be helpful to review a few of the bills I’ve introduced:

Jace Reese, a senior at Alton High School, job-shadowed Sen. Karla Eslinger as part of the National FCCLA Legislative Shadowing Project.

Senate Bill 702 — One of the most closely watched bills I filed this year, SB 702 requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for their employee’s sincerely held religious, ethical or moral objections to COVID-19 requirements. I introduced this bill after hearing from so many constituents who were opposed to vaccine mandates. After conferring with some of my Senate colleagues, I introduced a committee substitute that further expands religious liberty freedoms. I appreciate all the input I received in improving this lifeline to employers and employees alike.

Senate Bill 703 — This legislation requires every high school student to develop an individual career and academic plan of study prior to graduation. Senate Bill 703 will help young people prepare for careers after graduation and ensure all Missouri students have a better understanding of their post-secondary school options, regardless of whether that involves career training or the pursuit of a college or university degree.

Senate Bill 1134 —Missouri’s already strong “Castle Doctrine,” otherwise known as a “stand-your-ground” law, would be improved by passage of SB 1134. Passed in 2014, our current law says a person may use deadly force against someone who unlawfully enters their home or vehicle. My legislation extends this protection to a person’s place of employment, or any place of business the person defending themselves has a legal right to be. I was pleased to sponsor this legislation to help protect the Second Amendment rights of Missourians. Self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms is critical to our freedoms and I will always support these essential liberties.

Senator Eslinger invited constituent Pam Topliff and her family to pose for a photo on the Senate dais during a homeschool visit to the State Capitol. Senator Mike Bernskoetter of Cole County, who was presiding over the Senate at the time, joins them for the photo.

Senate Bill 1175 — To help students better understand the founding principles of our nation, I introduced legislation requiring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a patriotic and civics training program based on “The 1776 Report.” Originally conceived by President Trump, this report is a great tool to promote love of country and purpose. I believe this is an important piece of legislation that will advance civics education in every school district across Missouri.

These are just a few of the 25 individual bills I put forward this year. Before filing any of these bills, I carefully considered whether they would benefit the Ozarks and the people of the 33rd Senatorial District. I believe they do. I’m proud of the work that we’re doing and will continue to work on these important issues during the remaining weeks of the 2022 legislative session.