The Missouri House Majority Floor Leader says budget discussions will take center stage when House members return to Jefferson City next week.

House Speaker Todd Richardson speaks on the floor in March 2017 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications]

House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) briefed the Capitol Press Corps, just before lawmakers left for spring break.

“Once the budget, we have to deal with it when we get back,” says Cierpiot. “Once we see the lay of the land, REAL ID will be coming forward I think, and then prevailing wage is going to take some time over there too.”

The House Budget Committee meets Tuesday morning at 8:15 for markup of budget bills. Committee chair Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) tells Missourinet it’s an opportunity for committee members to offer amendments. The committee could then vote on the 13 House budget bills on Tuesday.

The Missouri Constitution requires the Legislature to approve a balanced budget by early May. Governor Eric Greitens (R) has proposed a $27 billion state operating budget, which includes $572 million in cuts.

The Missouri House is also expected to tackle the issue of REAL ID when lawmakers return to Jefferson City. House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) says the votes are there to pass it in the House.

“We’ve got that bill on the calendar, I think there’s substantial support for it in the House,” Richardson says. “It’s obviously a difficult issue for some, but I think the votes will be there I don’t think that’s the issue.”

State Rep. Kevin Corlew’s (R-Kansas City) bill would allow the Department of Revenue to issue REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) is calling on her House colleagues to update state driver’s license requirements to comply with federal law.

Cierpiot also says State Rep. Holly Rehder’s (R-Sikeston) prescription drug monitoring legislation is on the House calendar, adding that “we’ll be dealing with that shortly, I think.”

Missouri is the only state in the nation without a prescription drug monitoring program.

As for the Senate, Assistant Majority Leader Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) also addressed the Capitol Press Corps, just before the spring break.

“As always, we have unfinished business,” says Onder. “On the labor reform front, there are tort reform bills crossing from one chamber to the other.”

Onder says the Senate will debate charter school legislation and education savings accounts. He also hopes for passage of his course access legislation, which involves virtual education.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) says 2017 has been an “outstanding” session.

“We’ve done some labor reforms and tort reform and some other legislation I thought we’d never pass in my lifetime,” Richard says, referring to right-to-work.

Richard expects REAL ID to come up after the spring break. Beatty and other bill supporters say passage is necessary, so Missourians won’t be barred from getting on planes next year.

The Pro Tem also tells reporters that he meets regularly with Gov. Greitens and Speaker Richardson.