The halfway point of Missouri’s legislative session has arrived, as lawmakers take a week off for spring break.
Before leaving town, Republican leaders in the House trumpeted their first-half accomplishments to reporters.
Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says they’ve passed most of the “Fix the 6” legislation backed by business interests. They include bills that would cap the state’s minimum wage, freeze corporate franchise taxes and revamp workers’ compensation.
“They basically said to us that if you can fix these problems that we think we can create jobs," Tilley said. "I think there was no secret that this caucus’ top priority was addressing the 9 1/2 percent unemployment that we have in this state and trying to put people to work.”
House Democrats call the agenda a “war on workers." Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D, Kansas City) says GOP leaders have yet to bring a major jobs bill to the House floor for debate, with only six working weeks left in this year’s session.
“We have the data centers bill that hasn’t seen the light of day," Talboy told reporters. "We have the Compete Missouri bill that got sat on inside the (Economic Development) committee and just now began to get hearings.”
For the second half of the session, GOP leaders say they’ll focus primarily on passing the state budget and redrawing Missouri’s congressional districts. Debate on the budget is expected to begin March 28th, the day lawmakers return to Jefferson City.