Despite distractions from the ongoing investigation and pending invasion of privacy trial of Gov. Eric Greitens, lawmakers are doing their part to pass legislation and get it to the governor’s desk before the end of May.
Several bills filed by Franklin County legislators, some as early as last December, are making their way through the General Assembly as the session has reached the halfway point and lawmakers enjoy spring break.
State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, reports 558 total bills have been filed by his Senate colleagues and more than 30 of those he filed personally.
In his weekly report Schatz highlights two of his bills which have made the most progress this session.
Senate Bill 708 increases the minimum motor vehicle liability coverage a person must carry for others’ property, when operating a motor vehicle, according to the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.
This legislation increases the minimum coverage to $25,000 and has passed the Senate and the House Insurance Committee.
Senate Bill 750 creates the offense of filing false documents.
Activists or others with an ax to grind are placing liens on the homes and property of public servants.
This bill would make filing a false lien a criminal offense and it establishes a process to remove these fake liens and will soon be considered by the full Senate.
This issue was brought to Schatz’ attention by members of the St. Louis County Police Department and by Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific.
Other proposals Schatz is working on include bills regarding crisis pregnancy centers, legislation helping seniors afford prescriptions and a major tax overhaul.
Last year, 544 bills were filed in the Senate, 38 passed and only seven were signed by the governor and became law.
A total of 1,231 bills were filed in the House, 76 eventually passed and only six were signed by the governor.
A few weeks ago State Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, announced he will not seek a third term in the House, placing more weight on this session as his last chance to make his legislation law.
House Bill 1769 establishes the offense of filing false documents and work in concert the twin bill filed in the Senate by Schatz. Mathews’ version passed the House and two Senate committees awaiting placement on the calender for full floor debate.
House Bill 2238 would establish the “Social Innovation Grant Program” to find alternative solutions for serving the state’s vulnerable populations.
This bill has passed by the House and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.
Members of the House have also been busy during the first half of the session with 1,514 bills filed.
Although he filed several, State Rep. Nate Tate, R-St. Clair, has three bills which have made significant progress thus far, passing the House and moving to the Senate last week.
House Bill 1809, regarding the Bi-State Metropolitan Development District compact by adding Franklin County, has passed through the Local Government Committee in the Senate.
House Bill 2043 “Law Enforcement Day” has passed to be heard in the General Laws Committee in the Senate.
House Bill 2196, designating the second Wednesday in May “Celiac Awareness Day,” has also been reported to the Senate.
In addition to his ongoing work on the 2019 budget, which must be passed by May 11, Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, has sponsored bills that have made their way through the process thus far.
House Bill 1303, changing the laws regarding lobbyist expenditures, passed the House and Senate Rules and Ethics Committee to be placed on the Senate informal calendar.
House Bill 1442, changing the laws on filling the seat of county commissioners, has also passed the House and it currently is being considered by the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.
House Bill 1947, changing the law regarding sale of water or wastewater systems in fourth class cities, has traveled the same path being referred to the Local Government and Elections Committee.
As State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Washington, cranks up his run for state auditor, he also enters the last few weeks of his House career.
For this session, Curtman filed eight bills, two of which are moving forward.
House Bill 2034, modifying provisions relating to industrial hemp, has passed the House and currently sits in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee.
House Bill 2208, modifying provisions of law relating to paper ballots, has also passed the House and will soon be referred to a corresponding Senate committee.
Lawmakers will return to Jefferson City on Monday, March 26.