While much of the news coming out of the Missouri Senate this week focused on the continuing struggle to pass a congressional redistricting bill, I turned my attention to moving legislation through the upper chamber. I’m happy to report the Senate perfected my Senate Bill 783 this week. This legislation began as a fairly narrow bill aimed at making sure people who operate motor vehicles on our roads carry insurance. Under the legislation, Missourians who have a vehicle they intend to store, and not drive, would be allowed to suspend their registration and avoid the cost of carrying insurance.
As the bill moved through the legislative process, SB 783 expanded to include a number of separate provisions, all relating to insurance. Language originally filed as Senate Bill 742 postponing a sunset provision on Missouri’s Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund was added to the bill. That program, which provides insurance to owners and operators of fuel storage tanks, will continue through 2030 if this law passes. Next, we made a modification to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This provision, separately filed as Senate Bill 876, only reallocates a small portion of employer’s unemployment contributions and involves no new taxes or tax increases. Two other provisions relating to consumer protections round out the changes to my bill. The language from Senate Bill 1079 requires providers of life insurance, accident and health policies and certain other contracts to adhere to equal standards for maintaining reserve funding. Finally, a provision heard in committee as Senate Bill 1116, is aimed at eliminating insurers who offer manipulative travel insurance policies.
In any legislative normal year, bills are combined as the clock winds down toward the end of session. This year, with so few bills moving through the Senate, the rush to add amendments seems to be starting sooner. My SB 783 is a good example of this, as other senators seized the opportunity to advance their own priorities by attaching language to the bill. I was diligent in demonstrating that any language that was added all Missourians. The sponsors of the various provisions of this bill represent both political parties, but we came together to create a package of legislation that will benefit a wide range of Missourians.
I was glad to work with my colleagues to create a bipartisan bill that addresses multiple issues. The citizens of Missouri send us to Jefferson City to get things done, and we should be spending our days (and long nights) working toward making everyday life easier for all of the state’s residents. With the hard work of bill perfection behind us, I expect SB 783 to be third read and passed soon, perhaps as early as next week, and then move onto the House for its consideration. This process shouldn’t be remarkable, but in this year of filibusters, antics and squabbling, it’s become somewhat extraordinary. I hope to see that change in the time remaining before we adjourn in May.
Next week the Missouri House will be working towards passing a supplemental and annual budget to send to the Missouri Senate. There are many long days and nights ahead of us to ensure that we meet our constitutional obligation of passing a responsible and balanced budget. This is an arduous task, but one I look forward to tackling head on to benefit my constituents in the 33rd Senatorial District.
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.