St. Louis Public Radio News
8:35 am
Fri May 15, 2009

2009 Mo. legislative session ends

Jefferson City, MO – The 2009 Missouri legislative session is over.

Lawmakers passed several bills before 6:00 p.m. Friday.

Perhaps the biggest one was a wide-ranging economic development bill that barely made it out of the Missouri Senate, due to opposition over the amount of tax breaks contained.

House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) was relieved that it made back to his chamber, although it wasn't quite the bill he wanted.

"The only thing I would have liked to seen had been a research and development tax credit, (it) was in law for some years and was sun-setted...I would've liked to have seen that...however, everything else I'm pleased with and have no qualms with," Richard said.

Governor Jay Nixon was also pleased with the bill's passage. It was one of his top priorities for 2009.

But Nixon was disappointed that his proposed Medicaid expansion fell short.

"People are hurting when it comes to health care out there, I mean, you got over a quarter of a billion people with no health care coverage, at a time in which you have 25-year high unemployment and premiums skyrocketing," Nixon said.

A spokesman for the governor's office later corrected the governor's quote, stating that he meant to say that three-quarters of a million people in Missouri are without health insurance.

Despite losing that legislative battle, Nixon says he has no plans at this time to call a special session.

Other bills that passed on the final day include a wide-ranging crime bill that tightens restrictions on sex offenders and outlaws sending text messages while driving. Lawmakers also passed a measure in which unemployed workers could get an extra 20 weeks of benefits.

Among the bills that died Friday was one that would have required a more detailed informed consent process for women seeking abortions.