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Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for May 27, 2022

Wrapping Up the 2022 Legislative Session

Friday, May 13, marked the end of the 2022 legislative session. Over the course of the past five months, my colleagues and I have worked to pass legislation that makes our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. We passed legislation designed to protect the integrity of our elections and measures designed to stand up for the property rights of all Missourians. In addition, we completed our constitutional duty of redrawing our state’s congressional map based off of data from the 2020 Census.

Preserving the integrity of our elections was one of my top priorities at the start of the legislative session, and I am proud to report we were able to achieve this goal through the passage of House Bill 1878. Under this legislation, Missourians will now have to show a valid, photo ID at their polling place in order to vote. This is a commonsense requirement that promotes transparency and protects against voter fraud. In addition, HB 1878 eliminates the use of drop boxes to collect absentee ballots; makes it illegal for any election authority or municipality to receive or use any private funds to administer or conduct an election; and implements several other important security measures.

Property rights are among our most treasured and fundamental liberties, and are protected by both the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. There are rare occasions, though, when these rights are outweighed by projects intended for public good. It is one thing for the state to use eminent domain to condemn private land when building a road or damming a river. It’s something entirely different when a for-profit company wields this tool for private gain. Such was the case recently when an out-of-state utility company sought to use eminent domain to help build a high-voltage electric transmission line across northern Missouri. House Bill 2005 raises the bar for future attempts to use eminent domain powers by requiring developers to pay above-market prices when these projects are allowed to proceed. Approved by the General Assembly, this legislation enshrines into state law important property right protections for our farmers, protecting them from private corporations that aim to take their land without proper and just compensation.

Finally, I am proud to report the General Assembly met its constitutional duty of redrawing our state’s congressional district boundaries. It wasn’t an easy process, but I am thankful we were able to come together and pass a fair map that protects our state’s regional communities of interest. While our state population didn’t grow or shrink enough over the past 10 years to gain or lose a seat in Congress, I believe the map passed by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor ensures our state maintains its strong, conservative representation in the halls of Congress over the next decade.

Like every legislative session, there were times that were contentious and spirited, but I am proud of the work done by my colleagues to move our great state forward. We passed vital legislation to safeguard and protect some of our most fundamental rights as Missourians; we passed a balanced budget that makes historic investments in education; we protected our state’s infrastructure system from numerous attempts to defund it; and we met our constitutional obligation and passed a new congressional map.

As my time in the Missouri Senate comes to a close, I would like to thank my wife, Chara, and our family for their support as I worked to represent our community in Jefferson City. This job takes a toll on the family of every lawmaker, and we were certainly no different. Their love and support gave me strength when times were tough, and they were at the heart of every decision I made as a lawmaker. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank them for allowing me to serve in this capacity and for their unconditional support during my time in the State Capitol.

It is an honor to serve our community in the Missouri Senate. If you have any other questions or concerns about state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at dave.schatz@senate.mo.gov — we are honored to serve you.