First year lawmakers prepare for 2021 legislative session


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers will be back in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Jan. 6, to begin the 2021 legislative session.

Over 700 bills are pre-filed in the House alone and lawmakers are excited to get down to business.

“I really look forward to getting my hands dirty and making sure that this capitol feels like a house of the people, which is what it’s intended to be,” said Representative Betsy Fogle (D-Springfield).

Fogle believes lawmakers will be focusing on two key topics this session in addition to the budget.

“I think the at the forefront of everybody’s mind will be an implementation of Medicaid expansion, COVID relief and COVID protections,” said Fogle.

While Fogle plans to focus on healthcare, education and nondiscrimination, she hasn’t sponsored any bills yet, and won’t be for a couple of weeks.

“As a freshman legislator and as a freshman democratic legislator, I think it’s really important that I get in and learn everything I can about the process and don’t duplicate the efforts that someone else in my caucus is already working on,” said Fogle.

Alex Riley, Fogle’s Republican colleague and first-time lawmaker from Springfield, has already pre-filed three bills. One of the bills would change Missouri law to not allow plaintiffs to profit off lawsuits.

“It allows plaintiffs – people who file lawsuits – to actually make a profit off lawsuits,” said Riley. “That’s not the purpose of tort law. That’s not the purpose of our litigation system. The purpose of that is to adequately compensate people who are injured at no fault of their own. This bill is designed to correct some of those issues. As citizens of the state of Missouri, we want a fair court system that provides justice to all sides that are involved in a legal dispute.”

Riley said he pre-filed a bill to help deregulate the state and another bill to protect places of worship from governmental intervention.

“Ensuring that government can’t go in and close places of worship,” said Riley. “That’s something that’s fundamental. It’s a fundamental right that all of us have as Americans.”

As the legislative session goes on, we will keep you updated with everything out of Jefferson City with our Capitol Bureau.

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