The final week of the legislative session begins Monday afternoon, with lawmakers focusing on getting certain key pieces of legislation through before Friday’s 6 pm deadline. Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) has his sights set on a health care bill, education legislation, and a huge economic development bill that would expand the Quality Jobs program and possibly reform tax credits.
The health care bill – SB 306 – would provide coverage to 35,000 Missourians who are currently uninsured. The House and Senate are at odds over who should be covered
“The House indicated they were intensely interested in what they would call the uninsurable patients,” said Shields. “These would be patients that have preexisting conditions or chronic health conditions that can’t get health insurance, no matter what their income is. The Senate, we were also intensely interested in the low-income and providing access to health care coverage for them.”
Shields says the education bill – SB 291 – will take a lot of work to complete before the end of session on Friday. The same can be said of the economic development bill – SB 377 – which finds supporters of job expansion programs at odds with opponents of the current system of awarding tax credits.
“The jobs bill, slash tax credit reform bill, still not resolved,” said Shields. “I think we can get there but we’re going to have to have both sides move on that.”
Shields says that while time is short, there is time for the sides in the fight over the economic development bill to work out a compromise. All bill to be sent to Governor Jay Nixon must be approved by both the House and Senate by 6 o’clock Friday evening.