Curtain Falls On Missouri's 2013 Legislative Session
Missouri's legislative session has ended, with several issues resolved and several more that came up just short. St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin takes a closer look at the final day, and at what happens now:
A few that didn't make it, and a few that did
On the eve of the final day of session, Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R, Joplin) said he wanted to pass either a tax credit package or the one-cent transportation sales tax – preferably both, but both failed. As it did in years past, the tax credit debate again bogged down over how much to cap incentives for low-income housing and for historic preservation projects. The liquor franchise bill also failed during the last hour of session, despite a last-ditch compromise reached Thursday night. A separate bill that would allow home brewers to enter their beer at beer festivals did make it across the finish line. Other bills passed Friday include those that move the presidential primary date from February to March, require public hearings on adopting Common Core Standards for K-12 schools, and a proposed constitutional amendment reaffirming Missourians' right to keep and bear arms.
Differing views on the success of the 2013 session
House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) gave his chamber high marks for their performance this year.
"We have a lot to be proud of in this long list of accomplishments that will remind the people who elected us that they made the right choice in sending this common sense supermajority to Jefferson City to represent them," Jones said.
Governor Jay Nixon (D), though, is giving the 2013 session mixed reviews. He congratulated lawmakers for passing a fix for the state's insolvent Second Injury Fund, and for increasing funding for public schools and mental health. But he criticized them for taking no action to expand Medicaid, and he told reporters after adjournment that next year he'll renew his push for more Medicaid dollars.
"They're still out there, starting in January, 100 percent federal funding," Nixon said. "I certainly think we're gonna see some of the consequences of not moving forward, whether it's losing some jobs in the health care sector or the upward pressure on health care rates."
Meanwhile, one bill in particular that lawmakers in both parties say is critically needed still failed to make it out – the bond issue to build and upgrade state property, primarily on college campuses. Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) says they simply didn't have enough time to properly examine the proposal.
"I want to spend a lot of time this summer (on it)," Dempsey said. "I may implement an interim committee to study bonding, to go around the state and look at these projects."
Most of the post-session work, though, will be carried out by Governor Nixon and his staff, as they prepare to review every bill passed this year and decide which ones to sign and which ones to veto. In addition, the Governor has until June 30th to sign the state budget into law.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport