The 2020 Missouri General Assembly hasn't started yet, but Mid-Missouri's delegation of state lawmakers are busy positioning themselves for the half-year scramble to get legislation passed.
They, along with other state lawmakers, have prefiled about 250 bills so far, as we reported Wednesday.
Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, has filed six bills, including one to transfer some land in Cole County to the Heartland Port Authority for a potential Missouri River port in Jefferson City.
Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Callaway County, has prefiled seven bills, including one to create the Coroner Standards and Training Commission to establish training standards "relating to the operation, responsibilities and technical skills" of county coroners. Another would prohibit sex offenders from being within 500 feet of athletic complexes or fields that are primarily used by children.
Reps. Rudy Veit and Dave Griffith, both Jefferson City Republicans, also are among area lawmakers taking advantage of an early start to the uphill battle of getting new laws on the books.
It's an uphill battle because typically only a small percent of the bills that are introduced make it to law. The process for a bill to become a law isn't simple or easy, and that's by intention.
Each year, many good bills don't make it through the process. This year, many of the bills introduced are bills that have been pushed unsuccessfully last year, or, in some cases, many years.
Likewise, there are bad bills that do become laws. Of course, the definition of a "good" or "bad" piece of legislation is a matter of opinion.
That's where you, the public, come in. If you want to have a say in what does or doesn't become a state law in 2020, now is your opportunity to get in the process at the ground level.
First, study the issues. Prefiled Senate bills can be found here: www.senate.mo.gov/20info/BTS_Web/BillList.aspx?SessionType=R. House bills can be found here: https://house.mo.gov/LegislationSP.aspx?focusedID=Bill%20List.
Then, contact your state lawmakers and give them your input, then let us know. Send us a letter to the editor at [email protected]