On Monday, December 1st, pre-filing began for the Missouri State General Assembly. This means that, if they wanted to, legislators could begin filing the bills that they will be working to pass through the legislative process and turn into law during the 2020 session. 

The pre-filing period is an exciting time for organizations like Empower Missouri, members of our coalitions, and activists of every kind. It’s our first opportunity to see what kind of bills will be making their way through the legislature during session, which starts on January 8th and goes through May 15th. This gives us an opportunity to begin to think about how we can support good legislation and work against harmful legislation. Who is filing these bills? What district do they represent? How do their constituents feel? These are all questions that we can begin to answer during the pre-filing period. To draw a parallel to sports, this time is like the pre-season. We’re reviewing the tapes, building our playbook, and getting ourselves ready.

So, if you’re an advocate, or there’s a particular issue you care about, what does pre-filing mean for you, and what actions can you take to be the most effective in your advocacy?

One way is to track the bills you care about. Empower Missouri uses a software called FastDemocracy , which allows us to select certain bills that matter to us, put them into a list with similar bills, and get notifications when that bill sees movement, like getting referred to committee, or getting read on the floor. Individuals can use FastDemocracy at no cost to do the same. For those who follow our work, we’ll be using FastDemocracy’s widgets to post bill tracking lists on our website, so they’ll be easily accessible to those who want to stay informed, but don’t want to make an account themselves. 

If you’re a follower of Empower Missouri, you can depend on us to carefully scrutinize all bills filed and call you to action when social and economic justice are at stake. Join our mailing list if you have not and register now for our next #UDAS briefing call so that you can stay in the know about legislation that could improve – or impair – the quality of life for our neighbors in poverty.

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