Two weeks are left for state lawmakers to wrap up work planned at the beginning of the year. Republican leaders in the House reject suggestions that this has been a slow session.
That, even though House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) tells reporters, "Things are still (moving at) somewhat slow pace, but we have been making some progress on some key things."
House Floor Leader Steven Tilley of Perryville agrees, "I think we’re on pace to have a decent session."
Jetton had told reporters at his previous weekly news conference that he didn’t mind if legislation died this session and had suggested that the Senate might do his "dirty work" and kill some legislation. Jetton now says those comments were fueled by frustration. He says the relationship between the House and Senate has improved. The Senate has started to work on House bills and the House has resolved a dispute with Sen. Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield) who was furious with how the House had changed an animal identification bill of his.
Still, only 17 bills have been sent to the governor so far. Many of those are supplemental budget bills. Expectations aren’t high for the remaining two weeks.
Rep. Paul LeVota (D-Independence), who as House Minority Floor Leader is the top Democrat in the House, suspects the session is moving in accordance with the Speaker’s wishes.
"The pace is exactly what the Speaker wants," LeVota tells reporters, "I can understand why he says the pace is good for him; nothing is getting done."
The next two weeks will tell.