Missouri Lawmakers Discuss 2nd-Half Priorities As Legislative Spring Break Arrives | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lawmakers Discuss 2nd-Half Priorities As Legislative Spring Break Arrives

Mar 15, 2013

Spring break has arrived for Missouri lawmakers, as they take a week off before returning to Jefferson City on March 25th.

They’ll have plenty of items on their plate when they get back -- among the House’s priorities is debating and voting on the state budget, which still does not include Medicaid expansion. Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) says the federal health care law does not require states to add more people to the Medicaid rolls.

“I personally do not view health care as a right," Jones told reporters Thursday.  “I think it is something that the state should take upon as an obligation, if they’re able to do so, and the emphasis has to be on providing health care to the disabled, to children, and to seniors, not to able-bodied adults.”

Jones says the House will also focus on passing a bond issue for university and state building projects, and will take up efforts to restore caps on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Senate leaders are also not expected to expand Medicaid when they debate and vote on the budget next month.  Meanwhile, President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) says his chamber will continue to work on labor issues, including the state’s prevailing wage for construction projects.

“Not to repeal prevailing wage law, but especially in those out-state areas to have a system that is reflective of what the labor in those communities is currently paying, so that there’s not an unfair inflated wage for public projects where we’re using taxpayer dollars,” Dempsey said.

But there is one bill in the Senate that would repeal all of Missouri’s prevailing wage laws.  Senate Bill 30 was passed in committee this week and could get floor time when the Senate returns from spring break. 

The Missouri General Assembly has until May 10th to send the state budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).  The 2013 regular session ends one week later on May 17th at 6:00 p.m.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport