The Missouri General Assembly has reached the Legislative Spring Break, the approximate halfway point in the legislative session. The House sent some major policy issues to the Senate. The Senate devoted significant floor time to a caucus priority issue but falls short on finding the recipe for a compromise.
House Bills Migrate to the Senate
The House of Representatives gave first round approval to several bills this week, which gives members’ legislation a real chance for passage in the Senate with nearly half of the legislative session remaining. Most of the bills passed this week were of a non-controversial nature, however, there are a few bills worth noting that may have some challenges in the Senate:
- HCS HB 253 would allow for open enrollment in public schools.
- HCS HB 702, 53, 213, 216, 306, & 359 would place the St. Louis City Police Department under a board appointed by the Governor.
- HCS HJR 37 would make the Department of Transportation budget subject to appropriations by the General Assembly.
Senate Departs Early
This week, the Missouri Senate spent a significant amount of floor time debating Senate Bill 49, 236, & 164. This legislation is titled the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act” and addresses transgender issues including the appropriate age for kids to be able to access puberty blockers and transitional surgeries. The bill was debated on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Senate Democrats filibustered in an effort to negotiate for their position. Senate Republicans eventually recessed on Wednesday evening to caucus about what an acceptable compromise with Democrats might look like.
After several hours, Republicans were unable to emerge with a consensus and Majority Floor Leader Cindy O’Laughlin motioned to adjourn (a day early) for the Legislative Spring Break, a decision that infuriated a number of Republicans that wanted to hold off on additional compromise and get to a vote on the legislation. Tensions on this issue will be high when the Senate returns from break.
The House Budget committee met daily this week, going over appropriations subcommittee reports and asking questions of the various state departments. When they return from spring break, the committee will jump into their mark-up of the budget before sending it to the floor for first round approval.
The Senate Appropriations Committee continued their process of hearing from the various state departments this week and also completed their required annual tax credit review.
GOVERNOR PARSON TO EMBARK ON TRADE MISSION TO SWEDEN, GERMANY TO PROMOTE MISSOURI AS IDEAL BUSINESS LOCATION
Governor Mike Parson Press Release – March 3, 2023
From March 10 - 17, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson will travel to Sweden and Germany for an international Trade Mission. Sweden and Germany are key trade partners for Missouri, with more than $29 million and nearly $680 million in exports in 2022, respectively.
Federal Judge Allows Missouri Ban on Enforcing Federal Gun Laws to Stay In Place While State Appeals
St. Louis Public Radio – March 9, 2023
Missouri is appealing a federal judge’s decision striking down the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which allows citizens to file suit for up to $50,000 if they believe that police enforcement of federal gun laws violated their right to keep and bear arms.
A federal judge who struck down a controversial gun law as unconstitutional said on Thursday that the state law will temporarily remain in effect while Missouri appeals his decision.
Missouri Senate Stalled as Democrats Filibuster Bill to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Youth
The Hill – March 9, 2023
The Missouri Senate this week adjourned a day early for a scheduled spring break in disarray after a group of Democratic legislators spent days filibustering a bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors.
State Republican leadership made the decision to abruptly end the first half of the legislative session after hours of closed-door debate on the bill, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Bill to Allow State Control Over St. Louis Police Moves to The Senate
Fox 2 Now – March 8, 2023
State control over the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Missouri House members passed the bill, and it is now in the hands of state senators. As HB 702, sponsored by Representative Brad Christ, passed through the house in Jefferson City, some people in St. Louis are hoping the bill fails in the Senate.
Missouri House Bill Would Allow School Personnel to Concealed-Carry with School Board Approval
KSDK – March 9, 2023
The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would give all school personnel the ability to concealed-carry at school, but not every school has to allow it. Currently, Missouri law only allows certain teachers and administrators to do this. HB70, sponsored by Representative Chris Dinkins, requires school faculty and staff who want to participate to get a concealed carry permit and be approved and designated by the district school board to carry a gun on school property.
School Open Enrollment Bill Reaches Halfway Point in Missouri Legislature
MissouriNet – March 9, 2023
At least 40 states have open enrollment, letting K-12 students attend a public school district outside of the district they live in. Missouri could become the next one.
By a vote of 85-69, the state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow open enrollment to begin during the 2024-25 school year. House Bill 253 is sponsored by State Representative Brad Pollitt. The vote count was close- a minimum of 82 votes of approval is required for House passage. With a Republican supermajority, the vote count also shows not all Republicans are on board with open enrollment.
Missouri House Passes Resolution for Legislative Control Over State Road Fund
St. Louis Public Radio – March 7, 2023
The Missouri House on Tuesday passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would take control of the state road fund away from the Transportation Department and give it to lawmakers.
The House voted 101-45 to pass the resolution. It now goes to the Senate. Because it’s a proposed constitutional amendment, it would also have to go before voters.