During the last week of the session, The Missouri Times will bring you updates of floor activity for each chamber. Below is all the activity in the Senate from Monday, May 10. For live updates on the House, click here.
The Senate adjourns
The Senate adjourned at 7:18 p.m.
HB 297, higher education, placed on informal calendar
Handled by Sen. Holly Rehder, the bill began with designating Southeast Missouri State University’s mission as a focus on the visual and performing arts, cybersecurity, and computer science.
The Senate substitute includes provisions removing the tuition cap, altering the Missouri Education Program, and establishing the Students Right to Know Act to compile information to help students make informed decisions about their academic futures.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer proposed an amendment removing the tuition cap provision from the underlying bill, citing the state’s funding of public universities and the rising cost of education in his argument. Sen. Eric Burlison said the cap could constitute suppression of the free market while noting some of the leisure expenses incurred by the University of Missouri.
The bill was laid over with the amendment still in play.
Schatz’s gas tax bill clears House hurdle
Sen. Dave Schatz’s proposal to increase Missouri’s fuel tax cleared the House Fiscal Review Committee Monday afternoon.
It was a much-anticipated hearing as all eyes turned to Rep. John Wiemann to see how he would vote on the package. But the House Speaker Pro Tem voted in favor of SB 262, and it passed out of Rep. Travis Fitzwater’s committee 5-3.
HB 948, agriculture tax credits, referred to GAFO
Handled by Sen. Denny Hoskins in the upper chamber, the bill tackles rural tax credits, from wood energy to meat processing facilities to agriculture production. It also includes a film production tax credit — something legislators have debated for several years since it expired.
The bill also includes the Rural Workforce Development Act which garnered support from the Cattlemen and Soybean associations, among others.
Noting he has “hesitancy” about tax credit programs, Sen. Bill Eigel successfully attached an amendment shortening the sunsets to 2026 from 2027. It would also change the yearly cap on the Rural Workforce Development Act from $25 million to $15 million. Eigel said even if his amendment was adopted, he’s a no vote on the bill. Hoskins encouraged his colleagues to support the amendment.
Another amendment from Sen. Greg Razer would enact a small tax credit for urban farmers, allowing them up to 50 percent of taxes related to renovations, with credits not exceeding $50,000. It was quickly adopted by the body.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight.
HB 734, utilities, third read and passed
The massive utilities bill includes a provision for the Public Service Commission (PSC) to adopt rules for a voluntary renewable natural gas program and removed aluminum smelting facilities from the definition of “facility” so the PSC can approve special rates for certain electrical corporations, among other things.
Sen. Mike Bernskoetter attached an amendment similar to his SB 334 regarding an agreement between municipal utilities and co-ops and industrial-owned utilities. Sen. Rick Brattin added an amendment expanding bonding for Little Blue Sewer District in Cass County. Sen. Jeanie Riddle added an amendment adding her SB 92 to the legislation.
The bill was third read and passed 27-3.
HB 69, related to certain metals, third read and passed
The legislation increases penalties for the theft of catalytic converters to a felony offense. It also would require the records of sales of certain metals to be maintained for three years instead of two and mandate a buyer of precious metal retain it in its unaltered condition for 10 days.
Sen. Jason Bean is the Senate handler of the legislation. It was third read and passed 31-1 with Sen. Jeanie Riddle the lone no vote.
HB 432, related to vulnerable populations, referred to GAFO
This House bill contains a myriad of provisions related to vulnerable populations, from nutrition assistance programs to child care facilities. It requires health benefit funds to include hearing aids for children and establishes an “Alzheimer’s State Plan Task Force.”
- Sen. Jeanie Riddle: Identical to SB 91 (already unanimously passed by Senate), it prohibits people convicted of certain sex crimes from loitering or being present near an athletic complex
- Sen. Doug Beck: A proposal requiring public school districts to have a lactation room that is clean, lockable, and with electricity for teachers, students, and employees
- Sen. Greg Razer: Establishing mental health parity law
- Sen. Steven Roberts: Modifying provisions related to children’s right to counsel
- Sen. Andrew Koenig: Identical to HB 387, it prohibits the restraining and seclusion of children in schools
- Sen. Dan Hegeman: Related to the new Office of Childhood and sanitation inspections
- Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin: Gives parents the right to record Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings with school personnel
- Sen. Bill Eigel: Allows patients to opt-out of step therapy protocols if a doctor attests it is needed to save the life of that individual
Sen. Bill White offered an amendment bringing Missouri into a federal program allowing for a third party to supervise the placement of children in residential facilities. In an inquiry with Sen. Mike Moon, White says he would “hate to have us lose $150 million to have us do a federal program” where a third party person checks on children in these facilities. Moon asked for more time to review the amendment, and White withdrew it, saying he hopes there can be another vehicle for it in the future.
Senate gavels in
The legislative day got underway shortly before 2:30 p.m.
Room to deal? Leadership faces logjam of legislation as session nears its end
Before the legislative day got underway, folks were asking: Will the Senate be more than a speed bump to the House’s agenda in the closing hours? Staff and those close to Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and House Floor Leader Dean Plocher say there’s a great opportunity to pass far more proposals than normal in a legislative session during the final week.
Senators recap legislative session
Sens. Jason Bean and Greg Razer appeared on “This Week in Missouri Politics” Sunday to recap their first legislative session in the upper chamber.
Conference committee for police reform bill postponed
A conference committee for SBs 53 & 60 — the massive bipartisan police reform package from Sens. Tony Luetkemeyer and Brian Williams — was scheduled for this afternoon at 1 p.m. However, it’s been moved to Tuesday at 9 a.m.