The tension that stalled legislation in the final days of the legislative session could carry over into next year, according to one Senate leader.
It was Minority Leader Joe Keaveny’s (St. Louis) Democratic caucus that blocked debate in the state Senate in the final three days of session, allowing only one bill to advance after Republicans used a rare procedural move to cut off debate and force a vote on “right to work.”
“The Senate is based on a premise of fair and open and robust debate,” said Keaveny, and he said that procedural move used by “right to work” supporters, negated that premise.
“Effectively what that is, is, ‘We are not going to debate this, we have the majority party, we have the most votes, we’re going to bring it to a vote, and we’re going to pass it,” said Keaveny.
Keaveny says getting things moving again in the Senate could be difficult in the 2016 session.
“It’s going to take a concerted effort by the leadership of both caucuses, and it’s going to take some time,” Keaveny told Missourinet. “I think coming out of the gate in the very beginning of session we could have some issues where we don’t necessarily get along very well.”
Keaveny believes “right to work” backers wanted a symbolic victory, in advancing that bill to the governor for the first time, knowing it will likely be vetoed and they lack the votes to overturn that.
He said it was encouraging, however, that the two parties allowed a federal reimbursement bill to advance before adjourning.
“That separates the statesmen from the politicians,” said Keaveny. “That’s $3.5-billion total that funds our Medicaid programs. To hold that bill up for purely political reasons, I think, would have been a mistake.”