Committee Work Begins

Legislative activity is well underway as the Missouri General Assembly completes the second week of our 18-week session. More than 450 separate pieces of legislation have been filed in the Senate, and this week we saw many of those bills and resolutions referred to committees. Three of my bills have been forwarded on to committees and I’m looking forward to presenting those measures in the coming weeks.

One of my bills that’s generated a lot of support both inside and out of the district is Senate Bill 702. This legislation says employers must make reasonable accommodations to sincerely held religious, ethical or moral objections to COVID-19 requirements. Essentially, the same federal and state laws that protect employees with disabilities would apply when considering vaccine mandates and other workplace rules related to the virus. This legislation is not about telling a business what they can or cannot do, but ensuring that no one faces discrimination because of their religion.

We’re also hearing from a lot of constituents who are concerned about the Second Amendment Preservation Act, or SAPA. You may recall this law, passed during the 2021 session, ensures that law-abiding Missourians would not see their gun rights stripped away from an overreaching federal bureaucracy. I proudly supported this legislation and I am committed to protecting your Second Amendment rights.

As we’re settling down to business at the Capitol, most of the activity is focused on committee hearings. I currently sit on four committees: Appropriations, Commerce, Gubernatorial Appointments and Professional Registration. This week, the Appointments Committee held its first hearing of 2022, and began the work of vetting the governor’s nominees to various posts and commissions. Committee work may not get as much attention as floor debates, but it is important. This is where citizens can have their say, and legislation is fine-tuned and, hopefully, improved. Last year, because of committee work we were able to expand the welding program at MSU-West Plains, and I’ll look for similar opportunities to benefit the 33rd Senatorial District in the months ahead.

As always, I enjoy welcoming folks from the 33rd Senatorial District when they come to the Capitol. This week, I had the pleasure of visiting with constituents representing the Missouri Forest Products Association, who were in Jefferson City for that group’s annual meeting. The lumber industry is a major employer in the 33rd, and I’m happy to support them. This session, I’ve introduced Senate Bill 785, which modifies regulations on logging truckers and makes our roads safer.

Finally, this week, I want to express my appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement. National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was Jan. 9, and this day reminded us all the sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make for us. While the rest of us were enjoying the holidays with our families at home, these brave men and women never took a day off, and were continuing to be the front line to keep our communities safe. We can never thank them enough.

It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011.  You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.

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