It's been a thorny issue, particularly in rural areas where many counties have minimal zoning rules. The bill gained first-round approval Wednesday and needs another vote to move to the House.
Sponsoring Sen. John Griesheimer, a Republican from Washington, has a district that covers part of the outer suburbs around St. Louis.
Under the bill, county commissions could appoint planning commissions that would hold public hearings before recommending a plan that could cover regulations, zoning rules and the review of land plat applications. Voters would then need to approve it.
The legislation applies only to those counties with more than $200 million in assessed property values.