Some groups are expressing concern about the pace in the Missouri General Assembly for the final seven weeks of the session, hoping their priorities won’t fall short because of it.

The Missouri State Capitol (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The Missouri State Capitol (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Work in the state Senate has been slowed by Democrats angered that Republicans forced an end to their filibuster and a vote on a same-sex marriage ballot issue. In the House, some are worried that the number of bills moving through the system is piling up. More than 1,400 bills have been filed in the House with more than 120 resolutions in addition to that.

Missouri Kids First’s top priority is a bill that would tighten the control of recordings of alleged child abuse victims recounting what they say was done to them – tapes that are evidence in the resulting court cases. Emily van Schenkhof knows it’s important to lawmakers but wonders whether they’ll get it passed.

“From what I’ve seen pretty much every member of the House is trying to get their legislation to be debated on the floor and it’s created just a backlog of lots and lots of individuals, lots of important things,” said van Schenkhof.

Missouri Prosecutors Association President Kevin Hillman says this is the third year it’s needed a bill to be passed so juveniles guilty of first-degree murder can be sentenced.

“The Supreme Court said that life without parole cannot be the only option for juveniles, which is how our statute reads now for murder in the first-degree,” said Hillman.

Jeanette Mott Oxford with Empower Missouri hopes less of the time that remains will be spent on what she calls “partisan” issues.

“Are we going to deal with our fuel tax modernization needs so that we have reliable roads for people to get their products to market?” asked Mott Oxford.

House Speaker Todd Richardson answers media questions while joined by members of his caucus.  (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Speaker Todd Richardson answers media questions while joined by members of his caucus. (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Karen Buschmann with the Missouri Chamber says its pleased with work so far on issues it calls pro-business, and says the Chamber is optimistic with the Republican majority in charge and business issues being among its priorities. It’s still hoping for a number of tort reform issues to advance, and will be pushing for the legislature to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of a bill requiring annual permission from workers for union dues and fees to be taken from their pay.

“There’s a good chance to get substantial pro-jobs legislation passed yet this legislative session,” said Buschmann.

At the beginning of Spring Break House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) expressed optimism that there is “plenty of time left” to get bills passed.

“We have members that have been working very hard on what they believe are the priorities for this state, so we’re going to continue to work with members to move those priorities through the House,” said Richardson. Of the Senate, he said if work continues to be slowed there, “we’ll adjust our strategy and deal with it then.”

The session resumes tomorrow and ends May 13.