Another week is in the books in the Missouri Legislature. The House continued to provide approval for a substantial number of House bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee made efficient work of their mark-up process on the FY 2024 operating budget and passed an Ag bill dealing with foreign ownership of land as well. Only three weeks of session remain.
Political Friction Lingers in the House
The political acrimony did not improve this week in the Missouri House. Democrats continued to express their frustration by voting “against” or “present” on a number of bills approved by the body. Democrats feel that they have been disrespected by their Republican colleagues in a number of ways.
Why it matters: Because House Republicans enjoy a super-majority of members they can typically move their consensus issues, but on issues that splinter the Republican vote, Democrats can have an impact on the passage or failure of legislation. The ongoing possibility of this response by the Democrat caucus should not be taken lightly as it has already led to the defeat of several bills.
Senate Appropriations Committee Moves on Operating Budget
The Senate Appropriations Committee has had two quiet weeks of closed door negotiation with staff and members, which seems to have paid off. When the budget bills were brought before the committee, there was minimal disagreement over the details and the committee was able to efficiently advance the state’s operating budget, which now exceeds $40 billion. The budget must be sent to the Governor by Friday, May 5.
In the senate’s markup of HB 3 there were a few additions, Senator Bean was able to get $5M for Extension and Senator Author put in $15M to the eMints program. The senate took the Governor’s recommendation for a 7 percent increase to our Core budget and got ride of the performance funding.
DEI Language Removed from Budget, I-70 Project Beefed Up
One issue on the minds of all state budget observers was what would happen in the Senate with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) language that was added in the House. The Senate put those concerns to rest and removed the language from the budget for now. The language has not been well received by the business community, higher education institutions, and state contractors among others. This issue is likely to come back to the forefront when the bill is debated on the floor next week. The committee gave their support to the Governor’s $859 million I-70 expansion plan and put enough additional funding into the bill to stretch the project to three lanes from Wentzville to Blue Springs.
Senate Passes Foreign Ownership Bill
After several hours of debate and some heated exchanges, the Missouri Senate approved HB 903, relating to the foreign ownership of land. Although current law allows for a small percentage of land to be foreign owned (1%), the bill as passed by the Senate disallows any future purchases of land by foreign interests. The bill now heads back to the House for final consideration.
Governor Appoints 3 New Members to University of Missouri System Board Of Curators
Missouri Independent - April 18, 2023
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson appointed three new members to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators on Monday.
HOUSE / SENATE
GOP-controlled Missouri House approves Gov. Mike Parson’s $859M plan to expand I-70
Kansas City Star – April 20, 2023
The Missouri House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a construction budget that fully funds Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s proposal for an $859 million expansion of Interstate 70 in sections near Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis. The Missouri Senate is working on a separate, competing highway expansion plan.
Senate Committee Rejects Anti-DEI Language, Restores Library Funds in Missouri Budget
Missouri Independent – April 19, 2023
Anti-diversity budget language called a “job killer” by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce didn’t survive the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday, as the panel wrapped up its work on the state spending plan for the coming year.
Senate Passes Foreign Land Ownership Bill
Columbia Missourian – April 17, 2023
A bill that would prohibit any further foreign ownership of Missouri land was passed in the Senate on Monday.
The Senate amended a bill from the House to add an emergency clause and expand the definition of what is included as a foreign business. The bill also requires a 30-day notice to the Department of Agriculture in cases of transfers involving land that is already owned by a foreign entity.
House committee votes in favor of two transgender Senate bills
KOMU 8 – April 19, 2023
The House Rules Committee voted in favor of Senate bills 39 and 49 Wednesday afternoon. Those bills are sponsored by Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder (R-Bollinger) and Sen. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), respectively.
Missouri House approves Burger’s Save Women’s Sports Act
Standard Democrat – April 20, 2023
The Missouri House of Representatives has approved legislation meant to promote fairness in competition and opportunity for female student athletes. By a vote of 104-46, the Missouri House third read and passed state Rep. Jamie Burger’s HB 183 to establish the Save Women’s Sports Act.