The Missouri Senate will likely be in session for some late nights this week in Jefferson City, as lawmakers wrap up the first half of the 2021 legislative session.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, tells Missourinet Sullivan affiliate KTUI that senators will debate several key issues on the floor this week.
“I think education (school choice legislation), tax policy, motor fuel tax, and again I would anticipate that we will spend several long nights and when we break, people (state senators and staff) will probably be exhausted and ready for a break,” Schatz tells KTUI.
The Pro Tem reiterated that on Saturday to Missourinet. While education reform is a top priority for several GOP state senators, Democrats worry about the impact on public schools.
Increasing transportation funding has been a top priority for Schatz, who notes Missouri’s 17-cent per gallon gasoline tax has remained the same since 1996.
Schatz’s Senate Bill 262 would increase Missouri’s gasoline tax by 15 cents per gallon, by 2027. It also includes a provision for an exemption and refund.
The Missouri House will also be busy this week, both on the floor and in numerous committees.
The House is expected to debate a proposed constitutional amendment this week that involves initiative petitions.
HJR 22 is sponsored by State Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville. If approved by lawmakers this year and if voters approve it, it would require sponsors of initiative petitions proposing constitutional amendments to collect signatures of 12 percent of registered voters in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts and to submit those petitions to the Legislature for consideration, similar to a bill. The governor’s signature would not be required.
Supporters say the Missouri Constitution is about ten times larger than its federal counterpart, and that many states don’t allow use of initiatives to amend their constitutions. Supporters of Eggleston’s bill include Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.
Opponents of the Eggleston bill say it would prevent the will of the people from becoming law. They also say the initiative process is difficult as it is. Opponents include the Missouri AFL-CIO and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
Congressional redistricting will also be discussed this week in Jefferson City.
The Missouri House Special Committee on Redistricting will hold its organizational meeting Tuesday morning at 9. Congressional redistricting is done every ten years, after the U.S. Census is completed. State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, chairs the committee, and State Rep. Jerome Barnes, D-Raytown, is the ranking Democrat.
Chairman Shaul tells Missourinet that Tuesday’s meeting is to let committee members know what expectations are for themselves and for the committee, to help them understand the process. The committee won’t meet again until after the legislative spring break.
Legislation involving the Missouri Lottery will also be heard this week, in committee.
The House General Laws Committee meets Monday evening to hear a bill from State Rep. Jay Mosley, D-Florissant, which would give Missouri Lottery winners the option of not having their names published by the Lottery.
“I want people to feel safe when they win. I want them to experience their winnings in the best possible fashion,” Mosley said last February.
Mosley worries Missouri Lottery winners could be targeted by people who read about their win, or approached by family members who want money.
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