By Tim Curtis and Travis Zimpfer
With the last week of session upon the Capitol, the fates of key pieces of legislation have yet to be finalized. With the clock ticking on the legislature, the following ten bills will likely play a major role in the last five days of session.
Our “Key Legislation Tracker,” where you can see actions taken on these bills, can be found here.
After the House narrowly succeeded in overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto last week, the paycheck protection bill now moves onto the Senate where Democrats will filibuster the legislation. Last year, a previous question motion on the Right-to-Work bill, another anti-labor measure, shut down the Senate for the better part of a week, killing any bills that had not yet reached the Senate floor. The question this session is when this bill will come up for debate, because when it does come up, it could bring the Capitol to a grinding halt.
As for the votes needed to override the veto in the Senate, all eyes are on Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial. Chappelle-Nadal voted for the measure on its first go-around and Wieland was the only Republican to vote against it. Romine was absent March 1, when the vote was passed, and he would be the magic 24th vote to override the veto – unless Chappelle-Nadal switches her vote. Wieland is also in play. Both were reportedly lobbied hard the past weekend, and the fate of that legislation resides in their hands.
The “Uber bill” passed the House last month, but has gone through protracted Senate hearings over several days. One hang up has been background checks for drivers. So when Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, brought the bill up as an amendment, Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, offered a compromise amendment to the amendment that says in three years, the Department of Revenue will ask ride-sharing companies to implement fingerprint background checks. The amendments and the underlying bill, SB 640, passed the House and head to a Senate conference committee.
While HB 1631 passed the House and Senate along party lines early last week, the fight over photo voter ID has only come to the halfway point. HJR 53 is the joint resolution that would enable a change to the constitution to assure that the provisions guaranteed under HB 1631 remain legal. The legislation has already made it out of the House and through a Senate committee, though it has yet to be placed on a calendar. If Sen. Will Kraus can overcome the filibuster likely to come from Democrats on the measure, one of his last acts as a Missouri state senator could be his most impactful.
Known as “SB 5: Part Two,” SB 572 has slowly moved through a well-vetted process in both chambers. In the House, the bill received a rare hearing before the Select Committee on Judiciary, and the bill’s House handler, Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, said it’s been the most vetted bill in the General Assembly this year. While it’s passed both chambers, it did receive a couple of “ornaments” before the House passed it, so it will have to go through the conference committee process.
After a drawn-out process in the Senate, where the “beer bill” encountered resistance before finally passing, the legislation has moved through to the House floor after several compromises to try to bring small brewers on board with the bill. It’s already moved out of the House as an amendment to one bill, SB 994, but the bill itself has yet to be placed on a House calendar.
A measure to place a gas tax increase to increase transportation funding, a long-time project of Sen. Doug Libla, before voters has gained steam over the last month, passing the Senate and moving through the House. It was referred out of the Transportation Committee last week and could see an executive session in the Select Committee on State and Local Government as soon as Monday afternoon.
While HB 2689 initially appears innocuous, a staunch opposition has arisen against the bill in the Senate. A contingent of senators, led by Sen. Gary Romine, believe the provisions in this bill offered to energy companies would negatively impact energy consumers. Sponsors Sen. Ryan Silvey and Rep. Rocky Miller have both attempted to cast aside those concerns, but the opposition against the legislation could still stagnate the body.
The bill is also seen as one of the few pieces of legislation designed to assist Noranda, the aluminum smelter that declared bankruptcy this spring, by offering language that allows aluminum smelters to set special rates with electricity providers.
Rep. Holly Rehder’s paycheck protection bill has certainly garnered more attention than HB 1892, but a personal crusade lies in her bill to establish a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). While every other state in the nation has a plan to track users of certain opioids in an attempt to curtail abuse of such drugs, Sen. Rob Schaaf has been a brick wall in the Senate for the past few years because he has concerns about privacy. If this comes to the floor of the Senate, he will likely filibuster it.
Although it is highly unlikely this bill will become law since it has yet to even be placed on the calendar in the House, if it comes up for debate, it would be worth watching to see how the body votes. The campaign to adopt a compact that would decide the president by national popular vote is popular in more liberal states and is gaining traction in some conservative states hungry for more attention during campaign season. While not nearly as likely to reach the governor’s desk as some other bills on this list, the impact and implications of such legislation could far exceed most other bills debated in the body.
HB 2166, a lobbyist gift ban, passed the House back in January and has been held by the Senate ever since. It’s seen several amendments, including one allowing gifts under a certain dollar value. It’s been waiting on the informal Senate calendar since April 20.