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PERSPECTIVE: About a dozen bills prefiled for next session

by State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, Mo. | December 4, 2022 at 3:10 a.m.

Greetings from the fourth floor of your Missouri State Capitol.

And as you can see from my opening, my office in the Capitol has moved back to the fourth floor, and I am in room 411B.

Every two years, each class redraws for offices, and this year I got first pick and chose this office as it overlooks our beautiful Missouri River. As I begin my third term as your state representative, I want to thank the News Tribune for allowing me to use this medium to let you know what is going on in your Capitol and the inner workings of the Legislature, how that affects you and what bills I am working on as well as other bills that are of interest to the state of Missouri as a whole.

So from now through the end of session on the first and third Sundays, I will share what I believe is important information of the goings on in this building.

Much of what happens in the Capitol follows long-standing traditions, policies and practices. The process of requesting bills cannot begin until October. It is then that legislators can begin conversations with research staff to begin crafting bills for the upcoming session.

During the months of October and November, we can review and change the bill until we have a piece of legislation that fulfills its intended purpose. Then on Dec. 1 or the first working day in December, we can pre-file the bills for the upcoming session.

I do want to say that a lot of thought goes into each bill and working with our research team is a key to good legislation. It is their hard work that makes it all possible and being able to communicate with them from the very beginning to the final draft is something that is done very thoughtfully, and I can't thank them enough for their part in the legislative process.

Pre-filing a bill does not guarantee its success in the legislative process, but it certainly doesn't hurt in bringing a bill to the attention of the speaker and floor leader and gives each legislator an opportunity to lobby for his or her bills and move the process along.

During my first four years as your state representative, I have had the honor of having 12 bills pass the House and Senate. However last session, the governor vetoed two of my bills, and I will pre-file each of those again. They were vetoed because of amendments that were added on the House side and Senate side of the building.

Currently I have 12 bills that I will ultimately pre-file, but two are not quite ready. Here is a short synopsis of those I will file:

• The elimination of the Personnel Advisory Board, this is one of the bills vetoed by the governor and was filed on behalf of the Office of Administration. This board has not been operational for decades and will do away with a board not even being utilized.

• Tort actions based on improper health care. This bill, HB 1561, was filed last year but didn't make it across the finish line. I will go into further and more detailed explanation of each bill in future columns but suffice it to say it was filed at the request of one of my constituents dealing with personal life experiences.

• Custody and visitation, this legislation establishes the Uniform Deployment Parents Custody and Visitation Act for active duty military personnel. This is similar to a bill I filed last year HB 2640 that was filed late in session and didn't have a chance to have a hearing.

• Blind pensions, this will be the third time I have filed this bill, last year it was HB 1564, and addresses certified mail for our blind community.

• Towing of abandoned property, this, too, is a bill I filed last session that needed additional work and through collaboration with concerned parties I think we have created a great bill.

• Star and Stripes Historic Region, this, too, is a bill I have filed three years in a row and almost made it across the finish line last session but just ran out of time in the Senate.

• State employee pay, similar to HB 2090, this legislation allows state employees to be paid biweekly and was suggested by the Office of Administration.

• Property tax, this legislation proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Missouri relating to property tax for 100 percent disabled veterans. This bill is similar to HJR 72 that I have filed three times and hopefully will cross the finish line this year.

• Veteran suicide, this legislation tasks the Missouri Veterans Commission with expanding its efforts to prevent veteran suicide. This bill is similar to HB 2455 and almost crossed the finish line last year but stalled in the Senate. This bill will hopefully pass early on in session.

• Gaming revenues, this legislation proposes a constitutional amendment dividing state revenues from gaming activities between public institutions of elementary, secondary and higher education and the administration of the Missouri Veterans Commission and is similar to HJR 67 I filed last year. This would go to a vote of the people in order to fully be implemented.

As session progresses I will give a more in-depth description of each bill and why each bill is important to you and the state of Missouri.

It has truly been an honor to serve as your state representative, and I am looking forward to this coming session and doing the work of the people of District 60 and the state of Missouri. This is the People's House, and you are always welcome to come by and visit.

State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, represents the 60th District.

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