“Today is the day we get back to work,” said the new Speaker of the Missouri House, Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) after being sworn in on the final day of the 2015 Missouri Legislature’s session. When the session had ended, that’s what he said they had done.
The House had voted to send 31 bills to Governor Jay Nixon (D) and sent one bill, that would have changed Missouri’s law regarding the use of deadly force by police officers, to the Senate. In the session as a whole, the legislature sent 130 bills to Governor Nixon, who so far has signed 20 and vetoed two of those. One of those vetoes has been overridden.
“We are very excited to be at the end of what has been a very successful legislative session,” Richardson told reporters Friday evening.
Democrats assess the session very differently.
“We failed to expand Medicaid, which for us was probably the most important thing that we could have discussed,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis). “We failed to do comprehensive campaign finance, reigning in the unlimited campaign contributions, and we did take thousands of kids off of temporary aid to need families.”
Keaveny said his caucus took satisfaction in what it didn’t allow to get through the senate.
“We did block the voter [photo] ID, we did block the reduction of unemployment benefits, and we did block the unemployment discrimination bill,” said Keaveny.
Key among the 31 bills sent to the governor on the final day was the only bill the Senate acted on, on that day, the Federal Reimbursement Allowance legislation. It allows Missouri to keep collecting health care provider taxes that were set to expire at the end of the year, and mean a difference of more than $3-billion to Missouri’s budget.
Among measures the House stripped its own amendments from so they could be sent to Nixon were bills to limit regulations on small producers of honey, a bill to require court challenges to ballot initiatives to be settled more than 56-days before the election in which they appear, and a bill that would allow victims of sexual assault to seek orders of protection against their accused attackers.
Governor Jay Nixon assesses the 2015 session:
Missouri House Republicans on the 2015 session:
Missouri House Democrats on the 2015 session: