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This week in the Senate: May 5-9


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Senators stayed in late Thursday evening as the body attempted to move through a log jam of bills with just one week left in the legislative session.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said Thursday that next week’s session is bound to include some late nights, as the body prepares to end session next Friday evening.

“I think we’ve cleaned the calendar pretty well, but there are four or five things we’re going to do that are secondary projects,” Richard told reporters. “I didn’t think we’d get as far as we did this week.”

“On the liquor franchise, with 100-some votes in the House, I’m pretty much obliged to bring it up during the week, but we’ll see what happens,” he continued. “I want to get back to [Sen. Scott] Rupp’s Second Injury fund.”

On the medical malpractice law changes the body stayed up late to consider earlier in the week, Richard said plainly: “I think it is dead.”

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey agreed with Richard about the priorities of the Senate next week: “Sen. McKenna and I have worked on some language in maintenance relating to prevailing wage… [We’re also working on an] economic development bill, employment discrimination bill we may try to give some floor time, and then we’ll get to the secondary issues that are important to members or a specific region.”

Here are some highlights from this week in the Senate:

House Bills 1-13, 17-19: Lawmakers moved forward with budget bills on Thursday, just a day before they were constitutionally required to be truly agreed to and finally passed. Debate stalled for more than three hours as state Sen. Ryan Silvey filibustered against a bill that assumed the repeal of some $55 million in tax credits for low income seniors to fund First Start, a program for children with disabilities, essentially pitting funds for low-income seniors against those for children with disabilities. The bill moved forward unaltered, but Silvey ended his filibuster after Senate leadership hammered out an agreement that would require the state treasurer to use General Revenue money for the early childhood health care program.

HB 34: The Senate moved forward on Rep. Casey Guernsey’s bill that would change the way that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations determines the prevailing hourly rate of wages on public work projects. The bill is now headed to the governor, who has not yet indicated his position. It did not receive a veto-proof majority in the House.

HB 303: The Senate passed legislation Monday that would rename 10 bridges in the state, including the Missouri portion of the bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River from Missouri to Illinois the “Stan Musial Memorial Bridge.” The bill also renamed a bridge on Interstate 55, Interstate 64, Interstate 70, and U.S. Route 40 crossing the Mississippi River in St. Louis the “Congressmen William L. Clay, Sr, Bridge.” All 10 of the bridges are required to be renamed using private funds.

HB 253: The Senate passed (and the House sent to Jay Nixon) legislation that would establish the ‘Broad-Based Tax Relief Act of 2013’ that would reduce the tax on corporate business income and business income for sole proprietors, partners, and shareholders in S-corporations. The bill, if signed by Nixon — the first income tax in nearly a century, would reduce state revenue by $700 million over the next decade.

SB 230: Legislation sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, was sent to the governor by the Senate this week that would establish “Chloe’s Law,” a bill that would require every child born in this state to be screened for critical congenital heart disease with pulse oximetry or in another manner as prescribed by the Department of Health and Senior Services. The bill received unanimous support in the Senate, and bipartisan support in the House, but a handful of conservatives detracted.