Missourians in rural areas are feeling ready to get out and move forward as the pandemic continues, according to Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz.
“I think that the average everyday person says, ‘Hey, I’m willing to take some risks, there’s a risk associated with me coming down here and getting on the interstate, and I have to do that every day.’ I think we’re hearing a lot from those folks, and they’re ready to move on,” Schatz said.
Schatz appeared on “This Week in Missouri Politics” Sunday to discuss the end of this year’s legislative session and efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation covered the governor’s response, community concerns, and the results of the last few weeks of this year’s session.
Regarding the tort reform bill passed this year, Schatz said it had been a priority and a collaboration in the Senate was what helped it cross the finish line. He also discussed the new version of Clean Missouri heading to the ballot and the uphill battle that has had, saying, “You can’t win if you don’t play; we know there are challenges associated with that, but unless we have an issue on the ballot. We’re not gonna have the opportunity to have people take a look at it, or find the funding to get that bill passed.”
Additionally, Schatz discussed the governor’s decision to move the Medicaid expansion initiative to the August ballot.
“it will give us a potential opportunity to look at the potential cost associated with it and how we prepare for it in the future,” he said.
Pandemic response and end of session
This week’s panel included Jean Evans, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, and Missouri American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Mike Louis. The panel discussed the Memorial Day crowds at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as the response from critics. They also discussed the recent poll that showed 63 percent of Missourians approve of the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The governor’s done a great job,” said Evans. “He’s listened to local leaders the same way he has on crime; he talks to folks and finds out what’s important in their areas and what’s going to work in their areas.”
“I don’t know how there could have been anything less than an overreaction. There weren’t enough hospital beds, there weren’t enough nurses, there weren’t enough doctors,” Louis said of the response.
The guests also discussed Medicaid expansion, with conversation covering the funding of the expansion, the likelihood of its passage, and the possible revenue that could come from it. The panel also got into the end of the session, with commentary on the actions of the House and Senate during the final week.
For more on the end of session and the response to COVID-19, check out the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.