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This Week in the Senate: April 22-25

   

senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With just three weeks left in the legislative session, it is getting to be crunch time for lawmakers hoping to move forward on many of their priorities.

Still, Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said he feels the body has been incredibly productive compared to previous years.

“I asked the secretary of the Senate to give me a numbering — I said I wanted to know how efficient the Senate was being. We’ve taken up more bills,” he said. “My goal is to be efficient with our time and take up our members’ priorities.”

Those priorities include Kansas City Sen. Will Kraus’s tax legislation, and next week, he said, will be moving between conference reports, House and Senate bills on the calendar.

“I plan on working some nights,” he said.

When asked whether the body would bring up the electric infrastructure surcharge legislation, Richard said “some day.”

When another reporter followed up to ask, “So you’re not committing to having it up when you guys are out in May?” Richard replied: “I don’t telegraph my punches.”

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Here are some highlights from this week in the Senate:

House Bills 1-13: The Senate breezed through 13 budget bills during a late night session on Monday. Included was a pay increase for state workers, as well as funding cuts to the Missouri Department of Revenue, as lawmakers continue to express outrage over the department’s former document scanning process. The bills now move to the House, and are expected to be heard in a budget conference committee, perhaps as soon as next week.

SB 26: Legislation sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, that would shift some of the state’s tax burden from income to sales passed the Senate earlier in the week. The bill was sent to the House, which promptly amended it to use some of the funds for transportation projects. The bill is now back in the Senate awaiting a vote. Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday he opposed efforts to “raise taxes” on Missourians.

HB 163: The Senate sent legislation to the governor sponsored by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, certain third class cities to eliminate any primary election for the office of mayor and councilman. To be placed on the ballot, a person would have file a signed statement of candidacy with the city clerk. The legislation has an emergency clause.

SB 317: Senate sent legislation has been sent to the House that would allow drivers to present proof of insurance using their mobile device — whether it be an iPad, iPhone, or other devise. The display of an image of an insurance card would not serve as consent for a law enforcement officer to review other information on the device, the bill stipulated. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington.

HB 303: The Senate passed legislation that would designate the new bridge on Interstate 70 crossing the Mississippi River between Missouri and Illinois as the “Stan Musial Memorial Bridge” if the State of Illinois also makes the designation. The bill now heads back to the House with amendments.