Lawmakers have left the Capitol for their annual one-week spring break with the biggest bill of the session left in limbo.
House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) tried to put the best spin on the first half of the legislative session during a news conference with Capitol reporters, but…
"I am disappointed about the Quality Jobs bill, the economic development bill that we tried to help the governor with and sent to the Senate," Richard acknowledged at the outset of the news conference.
A failing economy seemed to focus legislators. It prompted Governor Nixon to request they place an economic development bill on his desk by the break. It didn’t happen.
HB 191 passed the House February 5th on a 141-to-19 vote, along with an emergency clause to make the bill effective as soon as the governor signed it. It was introduced in the Senate that day. That quick action and overwhelming vote seems to have held no sway in the Senate. Though a Senate committee moved swiftly to hold a hearing on the 11th and voted out its version of the bill that day, it hasn’t moved since. The bill stalled on the floor of the Senate as senators debated the proper role of tax credits. It hasn’t come to a vote in the Senate.
Richard vowed to let the Senate know the House is serious about creating jobs.
"We’re going to send an economic development bill over (to the Senate) every week," Richard said. "We’ll send over a hundred of them, 300 of them, 500 of them until we get that broke loose"
Richard acknowledged the Senate debate over tax credits puzzles him a bit. He said the debate on tax credits surprised him and he added that many of the senators now voicing opposition to tax credits have voted for them in the past, especially if they helped their part of the state. The Speaker also implied that the Senate is playing a risky game, stating that at least one company was waiting on the legislature to decide whether to make an expansion in Missouri. He said he wasn’t at liberty to name the company.
The legislature returns to the Capitol on the 23rd.