Some Thoughts on “Pre-Filing Eve”
For many of us, the beginning of December marks the beginning of the Christmas season, kicking off a monthlong period of mirth and Mariah Carey music. From Bing Crosby to Justin Bieber, the sound of December feels simultaneously old and new, ushering out one year and ushering in another.
But December 1st is also an important day for the legislature. That’s because it’s the first day legislation can be submitted for consideration before the chambers reconvene in January. Known as “pre-filing,” the process generally signals what the top priorities are going to be for legislators in the next legislative cycle—with the fastest filers getting the lowest-numbered bills and the sometimes dubious bragging rights of being the first to bring policy ideas to the legislative table.
What will be in the queue? In no particular order, here are some of the ideas that have been getting a lot of talk this fall and will probably be hot topics when the legislature reopens in 2023:
- Open enrollment is the idea that students in the state should, in some form or fashion, be able to enroll in a public school outside their home district. It appears that this will be a major priority in the House. My colleague Susan Pendergrass has talked about the issue at length, and it seems like she will probably do so again in the upcoming session.
- The Missouri Parents’ Bill of Rights, or MPBR, looks likely to make a comeback. The bill would guarantee parents a stronger role in their kids’ education and require curricular transparency from schools and districts that currently doesn’t exist.
- School board reform has been a popular topic of legislative debate during the break, including potential changes to when elections are held and transparency around who board members are and how they can be contacted by the public.
- Lastly in education, there may be a push to clarify who can participate in girls’ sports.
- The corporate income tax made a cameo in this fall’s special session, with a cut to the tax being stripped at the last minute from the individual income tax legislation that eventually passed. With a regular legislative session afoot, a push to cut or even phase out the corporate income tax appears likely. As with the individual income tax, I am a strong supporter of the reduction and elimination of the corporate income tax and am looking forward to hearing that debate in 2023.
- Property tax reform and changes to the Hancock Amendment will likely receive an outsized amount of debate, especially in the House. Both deal with the size of government and the tax burden government can impose.
- There also appears to be interest in the Clean Slate Initiative both inside the legislature and outside it. National organizations appear primed to get involved with a push to expunge certain criminal records, with conditions, to better integrate former inmates back into society. The exact language of the proposal remains in flux, but when it’s finalized, I’ll definitely weigh in on it.
‘Tis the season for policy. Let’s hope it’s a good one.