Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

In a surprising move, the Missouri House abruptly ended the special legislative session on violent crime, failing to consider several proposals from Gov. Mike Parson after passing two others.

“I am as shocked as you all are, probably, about what just happened regarding this special session,” said Minority Leader Crystal Quade in a press conference right after lawmakers gaveled out Wednesday.

Quade, D-Springfield, said it’s shocking that, despite Republican supermajorities in both chambers, Parson got “very little” completed in the special session.

Updated Sept. 1 with bills moving to a Senate vote

A Missouri Senate committee has advanced the tough-on-crime legislation lawmakers have been working on throughout the special legislative session.

The measures were sent over from the House last week and moved through the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Those measures include the creation of a witness protection fund and the elimination of residency requirements for St. Louis police.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, emphasized the importance of masks in fighting the pandemic after a roundtable discussion Tuesday with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and health officials in Jefferson City.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican,” Birx said. “You need to wear a mask and socially distance.”

Updated Aug. 31 with appeals court decision

A Missouri appeals court Monday changed the summary of a ballot item aimed at repealing a state legislative redistricting system voters approved in 2018.

Amendment 3 would effectively eliminate the Clean Missouri system that gave power to draw House and Senate districts to a nonpartisan demographer. Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce contended the summary the Legislature wrote to describe it was "misleading, unfair and insufficient" — and provided a new description that voters would see on their ballots.

There is one sure thing about drawing House and Senate districts in Missouri: Someone who is unhappy with the final product will file a lawsuit, and courts will have to sort out whether complex rules were violated in the process.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday he was “disappointed” that lawmakers extended the special legislative session by at least two weeks, citing the need for more time to consider the governor’s proposals.

“The reality of it is the homicide rates are climbing and every day we’re delaying, more people are losing their lives,” Parson told reporters during his visit to the Missouri State Fair.

The Missouri House announced Tuesday it is breaking up Gov. Mike Parson’s tough-on-crime package of special session legislation into one-subject bills.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr said the House is breaking up the package into single subjects to “protect the integrity of the lawmaking process.”

This comes after Parson announced Monday an addition to the package that would allow the attorney general to prosecute crimes in St. Louis.

The House had been expected to wrap up Wednesday but now won’t take up the individual bills until Aug. 24.

http://knowledge-leader.colliers.com/

Missouri voters in three state House districts can learn where candidates stand ahead of the Tuesday, August 4 primary election through recorded, virtual forums.  Links to the recorded forums are below. 

The three virtual forums highlight those running for seats in the 130th, 131st and 134th districts in southwest Missouri.    

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday that he was calling lawmakers back to the state Capitol on Monday, July 27, for a special legislative session to address violent crime. 

“As your governor and former law enforcement officer for 22 years, protecting our citizens and upholding the laws of our state are of the utmost importance to my administration,” Parson said at a news conference Wednesday surrounded by law enforcement officers from across the state. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday he will use $125 million in federal funding for job training and to assist public universities in the fall. 

The money, which was distributed from the federal government to help states deal with the coronavirus pandemic, comes with restrictions on how it can be used. 

Colleges and universities will collect $80 million to help them prepare for students and faculty returning next month. Higher Education Commissioner Zora Mulligan said the money will be used for a variety of purposes to make public spaces safe. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday signed legislation that modifies how plaintiffs are awarded punitive damages.

The measure requires plaintiffs to prove that the defendant intentionally harmed them or acted in a deliberately flagrant manner to collect. 

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday signed legislation allowing people at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus to vote absentee without needing an additional notarized statement. 

“Any Missourian affected by COVID-19 should still be able to vote, including those who are sick or considered at-risk,” Parson said in a statement. “I applaud Senator Dan Hegeman, Representative Dan Shaul, and the rest of the legislature for taking this important step, which provides Missourians with a safe and secure way to vote while still safeguarding our elections and ballot process.”

Sen. Paul Wieland has seen a lot of startling events during his 12 Missouri legislative sessions.

The Imperial Republican has witnessed resignations of House speakers, deaths of statewide officials and implosions of gubernatorial administrations. But Wieland says he’s never gone through anything like 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic massively altered the Legislature’s workload and focus.

The way Missouri draws its state House and Senate districts will be up for referendum later this year after the House Wednesday backed a ballot initiative aimed at repealing the so-called Clean Missouri redistricting system.

It’s a move that could greatly increase the power of appellate judges to draw state legislative districts — and make compactness a bigger priority in mapmaking than competitiveness and partisan fairness.

Missouri legislators approved a $35.2 billion state budget on Friday that includes $14.7 billion from the federal government’s coronavirus relief package. 

This comes at a time when State Budget Director Dan Haug said net general revenue collections for April were down 54% — from $1.5 billion to $725.2 million — compared to last year. 

Pages