Bill Pre-Filing for the 2022 Legislative Session Begins
The 2022 legislative session officially begins Wednesday, January 5 and lawmakers are working feverishly to have their legislation ready for consideration by the start of session. Wednesday, Dec. 1 marked the first day legislators could pre-file legislation for the upcoming session. The first day of bill pre-filing saw members of the Missouri House introduce hundreds of legislative priorities for next year.
My office was a part of the pre-filing frenzy and I am excited for the upcoming session. To date, I have filed five bills: HB 1642, HB 1641, HB 1643, HB 1638, and HJR 80. As I have stated in the past, human trafficking is a problem in our great state. HB 1638 and HB 1643 battle human trafficking with legislation against money laundering and racketeering. I have another piece of legislation that my office is working on in regards to stricter penalties for those found guilty of patronizing prostitution. I hope to have this bill filed by the end of December. HB 1641 is in response to an employer mandated COVID vaccine, outlining that if an employer demands their employee to be vaccinated the employer is financially responsible for any negative outcome faced by their employee as a result of the vaccine. HB 1642 allows an individual to apply for a conceal and carry permit at any state county office and makes the county fee consistent throughout the state. HJR 80 is regarding property tax. This will be the third time I have filed a bill regarding property tax and I am hopeful that the age old saying, ‘third time is the charm’ will be accurate. HJR 80 seeks to keep the real estate property assessment value from increasing more than two percent annually. This will help keep those that are retired, or on a fixed income to stay in their family homes. If passed, HJR 80 will be placed on the ballot for the people of Missouri to vote on.
By noon on Dec. 1 House members had introduced more than 250 bills, which put them on a record pace for pre-filing. Legislators pre-filed a total of 288 bills on the first day of pre-filing in 2020. In comparison, the first day of pre-filing saw 315 bills introduced in 2019, 161 bills in 2018, and 195 bills in 2017.
Legislators filed legislation dealing with a wide variety of topics. Issues addressed by the pre-filed bills range from vaccine mandates to critical race theory to protections for the unborn. To keep informed on the bills that are pre-filed in the House, please visit the official website of the Missouri House of Representatives at www.house.mo.gov and click on the “Pre-filed Bills” link.
Attorney General Schmitt Asks Legislators to Consider Parents’ Bill of Rights
As lawmakers prepare to discuss a wide range of topics during the 2022 legislative session, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is asking them to work on a Parents’ Bill of Rights. The bill of rights would protect parents’ rights to have a well-informed say in their children’s education, strengthen parents’ abilities to take action related to their children’s education, and increase transparency in Missouri’s schools.
“The Parents’ Bill of Rights empowers parents, and increases transparency in school curricula and materials. It is my hope that the legislature will pass this crucial legislation to improve education for millions of children across the state,” said Schmitt.
The proposed legislation would give parents a right to know about and approve of their child’s health care decisions, have access to health and mental health records, educational materials and curriculum, and would require parents to consent to biometric scans, DNA extractions, and video/voice recordings. The legislation would give parents a right to be notified of investigations involving their child.
As part of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, each school will be required to develop a policy that would guarantee parents a right to:
Participate in their child’s education;
View the curriculum their child is being taught;
Receive information on all extracurricular clubs at the school;
Receive information on school choice, including Missouri Empowerment Scholarships Accounts;
Understand the process to exempt their child from immunizations; and
Receive information about enrolling their child in individual educational plans or gifted programs.
Further, the Parents’ Bill of Rights would require the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a Missouri Transparency Portal that would track and create easy access for parents to view:
Other related source materials;
Professional development trainings for teachers; and
A list of speakers and guest lecturers within each school and related costs.
The legislation also would create a legal right for parents to file lawsuits against school districts that violate the law.
Treasurer Fitzpatrick to Launch Annual 12 Days of Unclaimed Property
Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is once again reminding Missourians to check the Unclaimed Property list. Beginning December 1 and continuing through December 16, the @MOTreasurer Twitter and Facebook accounts will encourage Missourians to search the Unclaimed Property database for their names and others they know. All posts will use the hashtag #12DaysofUCP.
Fitzpatrick said, “My office holds over $1 billion in Unclaimed Property and we want to return it to rightful owners—especially as we approach the holidays and Missourians find increased costs at the gas pump and on grocery store shelves this season. While these social posts take a tongue-in-cheek tone about some of the items in the unclaimed property vault and names on the list, I hope Missourians will take a serious look and maybe find an unexpected holiday gift.”
State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and other business entities to turn over unclaimed assets to the Treasurer’s Office. Most Unclaimed Property consists of cash from bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. It can also include uncollected insurance policy proceeds, government refunds, utility deposits, and wages from past jobs.
The Treasurer’s Office currently manages over $1 billion in unclaimed assets in more than five million owner accounts. Unclaimed Property is waiting for one in ten Missourians, and the average return is nearly $300. Missourians can search and claim Unclaimed Property year-round at ShowMeMoney.com.