The legislature returned from its annual spring break this week and hit the ground running. Both chambers had a relatively productive week, with each passing various pieces of priority legislation. Seven weeks remain in the legislative session, and only six weeks remain until the Constitutional budget deadline, which falls on May 5th this year.
The House Budget Committee met on Thursday morning this week to complete their committee markup process. Although the committee deliberation started at 8:00 AM on Thursday, they recessed for session and took another recess in the afternoon.
While there were a few moments of contentious discussion, the debate remained civil. The committee worked through the night and finally finished their review past midnight, ending early on Friday morning.
What’s next: House Perfection of the Budget is scheduled to begin on the House floor on Tuesday with the goal of wrapping up with a third read vote later next week which will allow the Senate to start their markup process beginning the first week of April.
Senate Passes Transgender Bills
After a contentious conclusion the week before spring break, the Missouri Senate gathered themselves this week and gave first-round approval to SB 39 dealing with guidelines for student participation in sports that are separated by gender.
Early in the week, a substitute version of the bill was offered, including provisions from SB 49 that deals with gender transition medical procedures. Democrats attempted to filibuster the bill that combined both issues, but an agreement was finally reached after dealing with the issue over the last several weeks. Part of the compromise involved splitting the issues into two bills, with a 4-year sunset on each. In the Senate, the bills were perfected on Monday, and on Thursday, they were both third-read and passed by a straight party-line vote.
For the moment, this legislative action has cleared the way for other legislative priorities to move in the Senate.
House Passes Sports Wagering
The Missouri House has once again taken up and passed a sports wagering bill, HB 556, sponsored by Representative Dan Houx, sending it to the Senate on Wednesday with a supermajority vote. Sports wagering has been an issue that the legislature has tried to pass since 2018. The roadblocks on this issue have tended to rise in the Senate, where the legalization of video lottery terminals creates friction.
Other Bills of Interest:
Representative Doug Richey’s HB1196 Post-Secondary Education Discrimination bill was voted out of the Special Committee on Government Reform (8-6) earlier this week. The bill now goes to the Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee.
The House passed HB 1162, sponsored by Representative Kent Haden, which creates provisions relating to a graduate medical education grant program. This bill creates the “Medical Residency Grant Program Fund.” Subject to appropriation, this bill requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a medical residency grant program, awarding grants to entities operating residency beyond the currently existing medical residency positions that are within the fields of primary care, as described in the bill. Funding will be available on a scaled basis, as the bill specifies, and the Department must expend moneys in the order provided in the bill.
The House also passed HB 863, sponsored by Representative Michael O’Donnell, which relates to social objective scoring standards. This bill includes additional standards and provides that an investment fiduciary shall not consider environmental, social, or governance characteristics in a manner that overrides his or her fiduciary duties. Further, the investment fiduciary shall not be subject to legislative, regulatory, or other mandates to invest with environmentally, socially, or other non-economically motivated influence unless they are consistent with the fiduciary’s responsibilities or divest from any direct holdings as mentioned in the bill.
2023 Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Awards
The Lieutenant Governor’s Women of Achievement Award was established in 2022 by Lt. Governor Kehoe to recognize and honor the diverse accomplishments of Missouri women in conjunction with Women’s History Month.
This year’s awards ceremony, held at the Missouri State Capitol on March 23rd, honored ten outstanding women from across the state. Robin Wenneker, vice chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, was one of the ten women recognized for her leadership in agriculture and higher education.
Husch Blackwell Strategies (HBS) and MU Healthcare say Farewell to a Beloved Friend and Colleague
On Wednesday, March 15th, HBS received the tragic news that Jessica Pabst, a principal with the firm for several years, had unexpectedly passed away. Jessica leaves behind her husband, Brandon, and two young sons, Paxton and Lincoln. It has been a hard week for all of us, and we appreciate the outpouring of support our staff and the Pabst family have received over the last week.
If you are interested in making a donation for the family, HBS has established the Jessica Pabst Memorial Fund to help with educational expenses for Paxton and Lincoln.