Only two bills signed into law so far, more than 30 still waiting

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With less than two weeks before the end of the 2018 legislative session, literally hundreds of bills are set to die. But at the same time, the bills that have passed both chambers are not moving forward, either.

In 2017, the state legislature gave their approval to roughly 80 bills, but the question now is this: how many bills will reach the Governor’s desk in 2018?

To date, only two bills have been signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens, though 33 more have been truly agreed to and finally passed by the chambers. (UPDATE: The two chambers, after the writing of this story, truly agreed and passed HB 2015, which deals with the supplemental budget, on Tuesday, May 8.)

That’s because, while the bills’ work in the legislature is finished, leadership in the state legislature has not advanced the legislation to the Governor.

“Are we or are we not sending bills to the governor to sign? Because we had a discussion a couple of weeks ago where many of us agreed that he was not fit to serve but to sign his name on any legislation here in Missouri,” Nasheed said to Sen. Kehoe. “I don’t want to believe that we are sending bills to the governor for him to sign.”

Kehoe directed Nasheed to ask President Pro Tem Ron Richard, who makes that decision.

Minority leadership in the Senate has requested that the chamber hold off on sending legislature to the governor. Some legislators are concerned that Greitens could threaten to withhold his signatures in either an attempt to leverage support or punish those who have signed their names to the call for a special session concerning potential impeachment proceedings.

President Pro Tem Richard has said in past weeks that he has been scheduled to meet with the minority leader to discuss the delayed deliverance of the legislation, but also stated that he would be able to delay signing off on the bills if he believes Greitens may try to leverage his signature and veto powers.

But, on that same thread, Richard has denied any concern that the ongoing troubles for Gov. Greitens have slowed down the legislature’s work, saying that the Senate’s role amidst all of this is to stand steady and firm.

Regardless, the deadline still remains, and legislation must be delivered by May 30. There is, however, no rules that state the legislature must send bills before that deadline. In fact, the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem will often wait until after session to sign and deliver the bills to the Governor’s desk. In 2017, they waited until May 22 to deliver the majority of the bills.

There still remains a string of legislative priorities among the Republicans, who dominate both chambers, including tax reform, prevailing wage, tort reform, utility rate reform, abortion, medical marijuana, or even the Sunshine Law changes.

Five bills to watch as session’s end draws near

Here’s a list of the bills that have been truly agreed to and finally passed (as of 12 p.m. on May 8) but still await the Governor’s signature: