The Missouri Legislature heads to spring break with a lot of unfinished business to do when lawmakers return. This midway point of the session includes the General Assembly sending two bills to the governor’s desk.
The first one passed by House and Senate members and signed into law by the governor earlier this month requires the Department of Public Safety to develop human trafficking hotline posters. They must be placed in high-traffic areas where victims might frequent, like bus and train stations, airports and strip clubs.
The second bill headed to Governor Greitens would establish a temporary certificate of license for individuals to teach in Missouri’s public schools, grades 9 through 12. They must meet certain educational and testing requirements.
Other major issues still lingering include the state budget, a proposed gas tax increase to help fund Missouri’s roads and bridges, whether the Senate will confirm any appointees to the Missouri Board of Education, a House committee’s investigation of Governor Greitens, and whether to continue to offer a personal property tax credit for seniors who rent.
Issues that have received little attention this session from the Republican-dominated legislature include abortion-related measures, education legislation affecting K-12 school students, a proposed state employee pay increase and closing a loophole on gun regulations that currently allows domestic violence abusers to have guns.
Some lawmakers could see the session’s pace as a plus, if they disagree with legislation they consider to have a negative impact on certain Missourians, businesses and agencies. They might also argue quality over quantity. Several lawmakers have also talked about how the allegations involving the governor have been a distraction this year.
More than 3,600 bills have been filed this session by lawmakers.
According to House Speaker Todd Richardson, 158 bills have been passed in his chamber this session. Senators have passed 39 Senate bills so far.
The legislative session began the first week in January and goes until May 18.