JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As the legislative session in the Missouri State Capitol enters the final week, some of the more controversial topics have yet to cross the finish line. And for the most part, all eyes will be on the Senate.
Here is a look at five topics expected to hit the floor this week:
GM incentive package (SB 68)
The package designed to lure a $1 billion General Motors expansion at its Wentzville plant includes tax credits, Fast Track, Missouri One Start program, and Missouri Works – Deal Closing Fund. The House late Thursday added the incentive plan onto Sen. Lincoln Hough’s bill on the Missouri One Start Program.
Since it was added to a Senate bill, lawmakers in the upper chamber have the option of accepting the package as is or sending it to conference committee.
The Conservative Caucus has been in opposition to the closing fund and Fast Track — and even the amended version of the adult-scholarship program has not swayed their opinion.
“I cannot support [a] bill that includes ill-conceived ‘deal closing’ slush funds. TX Enterprise Fd often held up as exemplar. Appearance of pay-to-pay corruption can’t be ignored in the year of Stenger. Unnecessary for [General Motors] deal!” Sen. Onder tweeted.
But the package does have support in the chamber, with Hough and Floor Majority Leader Caleb Rowden backing the plan.
Over the weekend, Rob Dixon, director of Economic Development, went on a lengthy Twitter thread in favor of the workforce development package.
“RUMOR: GM doesn’t want Fast Track. FACT: We met with GM on April 25. Two things happened: 1)They asked for workforce & infrastructure support and a program like the expired Mfg Jobs Act 2)They asked us to advance the full legislative package including Fast Track & Deal Closing,” Dixon wrote.
Abortion (HB 126/SB 279)
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz predicted in mid-April they would be sending a bill curtailing abortion to the governor.
The House passed its version of a sweeping anti-abortion bill in February. HB 126, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer, still sits on the Senate informal calendar.
The Senate version of the measure, SB 279, championed by Sen. Bob Onder, sits on the Senate informal calendar after it was taken up once for debate and then laid over.
Redistricting (HJR 48)
Rep. Dean Plocher’s HJR 48 seeks to walk back voter-approved redistricting alterations and outright ban all so-called lobbyist gifts.
The proposal passed the House late last month. In the Senate, the resolution, which would need voter approval, failed to get to of fiscal oversight on a 2-2 vote Monday with there GOP lawmakers absent. It could potentially come up for another vote.
Eminent domain (HB 1062)
A bill limiting who can use eminent domain worked its way through the House in April. In a push for the proposal’s passage, the lower chamber also attached the same language onto a related Senate bill.
The language attached to Sen. Gary Romine’s bill stalled in the Senate, where the body refused to accept the changes and sent SB 202 to conference.
The bill itself, HB 1062, has been making its way through the chamber. The eminent domain measure has been voted out of a Senate committee.
PDMP (HB 188/SB 155)
Championed by Rep. Holly Rehder for the seventh year, a statewide prescription drug monitoring program is in the hands of the Senate. HB 188 passed the House in February, and the bill resides on the Senate calendar — while SB 155 never made much headway.
Rehder’s bill has yet to be brought up, with members of the Conservative Caucus holding up bills in “defense of the Senate conversation” last week.
Sen. Denny Hoskins said his filibusters weren’t an attempt to block the PDMP bill from being brought up, but rather, he wanted to shed light on two House rules committees he said were holding “hostage” Senate bills.
To date, 36 bills have been truly agreed to and finally passed.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.