State Senator Karla Eslinger, District 33
The General Assembly suspended its ordinary session on Friday, May 14, 2021, and it has been a special honor for me to represent the people of the 33rd District in the Missouri Senate this year. By the time the last hammer fell, we had submitted 69 separate invoices.
As a member of the legislature, I never measure success by how many bills I submit or how many laws make it to the governor’s desk. I measure success by working to address problems and create opportunities for our district. My focus is on improving jobs and opportunities through economic development and infrastructure, and getting the government out of the way by streamlining and reducing regulations.
One of the accomplishments I’m proud of is a move to help our sheltered workshops. I sponsored Senate Draft 582 to protect these facilities from action proposed at the federal level. My legislation mirrors Section 14 (c) of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which empowers employers to pay disabled workers at reasonable wage rates if their disability affects their productivity for the work done. Legislation currently pending before Congress threatens to abolish Section 14 (c). My language maintains decent wages in our state.
To illustrate the size and extent of the impact of this legislation, Missouri has 87 separate and independent sheltered workshops that employ more than 5,800 people with disabilities. I have worked on a local sheltered workshop committee and have seen firsthand the opportunities they offer our residents with disabilities by providing a valid and valued option for employment and training.
I proudly supported the Second Amendment Preservation Act, House Bills 85 & 310, which declares all federal laws, statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations – past, present, or future – that violate the right of the people to keep and carry arms as guaranteed by the EU The second amendment to the US Constitution is invalid in the state of Missouri. Local law enforcement officers are prohibited from assisting federal agencies in enforcing federal laws that are deemed unconstitutional.
As I traversed the district, I heard from many of our city and district leaders about protecting Main Street brick and mortar stores through the passing of online sales tax laws (also known as the “Wayfair” law). I voted for Senate Draft 153 to allow Missouri to begin collecting sales tax on online purchases and level the playing field for internet-based retailers so that all sales are taxed equally.
Senate Bill 26 is another bill that I was proud to support. This bill contains many provisions related to public safety, but perhaps most importantly, it contains a “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights” that gives officers extra protection when they are the subject of an investigation. I have met regularly with law enforcement officers from across the district and discussed important issues, and I believe this legislation will be an important tool in their toolbox to aid officer retention and recruitment.
Senate Bill 120 contains a number of provisions relating to soldiers and soldiers’ wives, veterans and their families. The bill creates a new section of the National Guard at the cabinet level, designating November as the month of military families and a designation for the Purple Star Campus, with special programs for school districts serving children of military personnel. I was able to change Senate Bill 494 to this Bill so that the Treasury Department had to put “VETERAN” on the front of the driver’s license.
House Bill 661 made it to the governor’s desk too, and I’ve worked hard to make sure it includes local timber truck laws. The timber and timber industry is important to the 33rd district, and this legislation streamlines current regulations by allowing all local timber trucks to carry 22,400 pounds per axle, capped at 105,000 pounds. This part of the bill sets previous arbitrary and inconsistent measurement standards and makes it easier for timber truck drivers to comply with regulations and law enforcement agencies to manage those regulations.
Finally, my Senate Act 72 makes the first full week of September Missouri Fox Trotter Week and is designed to further promote the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association’s annual World’s Fair and Celebration held annually that week in Ava. A number of other special designations were added in the final days of the session. The bill recognizes, among other things, the “Day of Law Enforcement Recognition”, the “Day of Incidental Acts of Kindness” and the “Day of Mark Twain” and names the St. Louis Gateway Arch, among other things, the official state monument of Missouri. It seems like many senators and representatives want to ride Douglas County’s favorite horse.
It’s been an exciting, busy final week of an extremely busy legislature. The Senate stayed in the Chamber for three nights well after midnight this week, including a session that lasted until 4 a.m. The first ordinary session of the 101st General Assembly has come to an end. We’ve tackled tough issues and passed laws that haven’t worked for years, and I was happy to be part of this important advance for the 33rd District and our state.
While this will be my last regular legislative column for a while, I want you to know that if I can help you with any state government-related questions, please do not have to go to my office.
I am honored to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster, and Wright in the Missouri Senate and always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If there is any way I can help you please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882 or my district office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my website at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33 on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.
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