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Final week in the Senate: Thursday, May 14

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 Thursday, May 14. For live updates on the House, click here.

The Senate adjourned at 10:41 p.m.

The Missouri Senate reconvened shortly after 10 p.m. with several senators admonishing the lower chamber. Members realized language pertaining to the Grain Belt project had been added to SB 782, which was TAFP’d earlier in the day.

Members unanimously decided to reconsider the bill.

“This should terrify every member of this chamber,” Sen. Scott Sifton said.

Amid claims of dishonesty, Senate unanimously reconsiders omnibus bill after finding ‘hidden’ language from House

The Senate stands in recess until 8:15 p.m. 

HB 1450, Modifies provisions relating to criminal law

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer asked the Senate to further conference with the House over this crime bill, noting more negotiations and compromises were needed to get the bill to a place where it could pass the upper chamber and make the state safer.

While Luetkemeyer said he has accepted some of his own provisions will likely be stripped from the bill, language regarding witness protection should remain.

“There’s bloodshed in our streets, and something must be done to hold violent criminals accountable.”

Sen. Bob Onder warned: Should the bill went to conference again and “people show bad faith” by ultimately filibustering what has been negotiated, “there’s a remedy there.”

HB 1700, omnibus tax bill, Informal calendar 

Sen. Lincoln Hough said a few senators “took some time” to develop language related to internet sales tax, dubbed “Wayfair,” that has been added to this House bill.

The Senate substitute includes a provision related to cable franchise fees, something championed by Sen. Ed Emery that he said is the result of many negotiations. The provision slowly lowers, before altogether prohibiting, video service provider fees. The fee structure of this provision is in sync with Wayfair provisions, senators said.

The first amendment would require cable companies to include the franchise fee as a separate line item on bills so customers could “see exactly what is going on and hold them accountable for the reduction coming from the fee structure.” It would also gradually lower the franchise until it stopped at 2.5 percent (instead of eliminating it altogether). After a few hours of debate, Emery rescinded it.

Several senators voiced opposition to this provision, arguing they represent municipalities that would “suffer” from it, and Sen. Gina Walsh proposed a plan pushing the elimination of the cable franchise tax by 36 months (to begin in 2023).

“I don’t want to pull the rug out from anybody at this time,” Walsh said, pointing to the rising unemployment numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A new amendment from Emery included the same fee structure that would lower the franchise fees gradually to 2.5 percent, set to begin in 2023. The amendment also adds members to a “Task Force on the Future of Right-of-Way Management and Taxation” and addresses payments in lieu of taxes in Springfield used only for right-of-way acquisitions.

The bill was ultimately laid over.

HB 1963Modifies provisions relating to transportation, Informal calendar

Handled by Sen. Doug Libla in the Senate, the bill includes myriad provisions related to transportation, including special license plates and highway names for fallen law enforcement officers.

After some debate — especially over motorcycle helmet laws — Libla said the House did not plan to take up the bill, and it was placed on the informal calendar.

The Senate went into recess at 1:15 p.m. The body reconvened at 2:18 p.m.

SB 782, transportation omnibus bill, TAFP

From Sen. Justin Brown, SB 782 extends the sunset date on temporary boating safety ID cards. It grew in the House to include several amendments, Brown said.

The bill also includes a provision exempting certain vehicles towing trailers specifically designed to carry harvested cotton. The trailers would be transporting cotton to areas to be determined by the National Drought Mitigation Center to be impacted by drought.

The nature of omnibus bills (and what the plural of “omnibus” is) during this final stretch of session caused consternation on the floor Thursday morning.

“I think these omnibus bills, many times, put us in a quandary,” Sen. Bob Onder said.

Sen. Bill Eigel is holding the floor, going through the bill provision-by-provision.

The Senate passed the bill 28-3.

HB 1682, health care omnibus bill, third read and passed

The legislation, now a health care omnibus bill, caused more than 10 hours of debate in the Senate Wednesday. The upper chamber took it back up Thursday morning and adopted emergency clauses.

The Senate third read and passed the bill 25-5.

Senate gavels in

The legislative day got underway just before 11 a.m.