State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, said efforts are still under way to name a bridge after a former Sullivan mayor and World War II veteran.
Hinson sponsored a bill in the Missouri Legislature to name the State Highway 185 overpass in Sullivan the James K. Schatz Memorial Bridge.
But the bill has languished for months, and there are only two weeks left in the legislative session.
Hinson said the bill has not moved because Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, was slow to put the measure on the House calendar. Bills cannot be voted on until they are on the calendar, Hinson said.
The bill sat in the speaker’s office for about two months awaiting placement on the consent calender, Hinson said.
“I’m just a little confused why a consent bill would not get placed on the calendar, especially since I’m in the same party as he is,” Hinson said, adding that it has been “aggravating.”
Hinson said the speaker has blamed him for issues related to State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, running for the District 26 Senate seat.
Schatz is running for the Senate seat currently held by Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who decided that he would not seek re-election.
Jones had also expressed interest in running for the position but ultimately did not file after Schatz sought the position.
Hinson said he is uncertain whether politics played into the bridge naming bill not moving by now. However, he noted that the bill does seek to name the bridge after a person with the same last name as the Senate candidate.
Hinson said he probably needs to have a conversation with Jones.
The bill is now on the House calendar but with only two weeks left is basically dead in the House.
However, Hinson said he has since been able to get the bill attached to other consent legislation in the Senate, and he is confident that the measure will pass this year.
Hinson explained that the bill is on the “perfection” calendar in the House and not the “consent” calendar. It was put on the calendar April 23.
Bills on the perfection calendar take longer to get through than ones on the consent calendar. The consent calender is for noncontroversial legislation that can be passed quickly, Hinson explained.
The fact that the bridge-naming bill is about 20th in line on the perfection calendar almost certainly means that it could not get through in time before the session ends, Hinson said.
The Missourian sought comment from Jones’ office to see if the bill has been held up for some reason and if a vote would be allowed on it. His office replied that the bill was put on the calendar and that it is up to the floor leader, not the speaker, when to bring a bill up for a vote.
But Hinson said the floor leader could not bring the bill up for a vote until the speaker put it on the House calendar. Hinson said House Floor Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country, told him that he would allow a vote on the bill when it was on the calendar. But with time running out, Hinson said he had to go ahead get the bill attached to Senate legislation.
The bill would name the State Highway 185 crossing over Interstate 44 overpass the “James K. Schatz Memorial Bridge.” Schatz was a three-term Sullivan mayor and was in office when the overpass was completed Oct. 21, 2008, Sullivan City Administrator J.T. Hardy said.
He served as mayor for three terms, between 2003 to 2009, and was a World War II veteran.
Voters passed a half-cent sales tax to pay for the overpass, Hardy explained.
Naming the bridge after Schatz is just a way to memorialize a World War II veteran who devoted his life to make the community better, Hardy said. The city does not want to get involved in any politics that may have cropped up over the bill, Hardy added.
The most important goal now is to get the bill passed, Hinson said.
James Schatz was a big advocate of getting the overpass built for the community, served in civic organizations and was also a city councilman, Hinson said.
“It would be a great honor to dedicate that bridge to him,” Hinson said.