A look at where bills stand in the Missouri Legislature

3 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Sunday, March 29 2015 Mar 29, 2015 Sunday, March 29, 2015 1:42:44 PM CDT March 29, 2015 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - The Missouri Legislature is to return to work Monday from its weeklong spring break, which marks the traditional midway point of its annual session. Here's a look at where some issues stand:

ABORTION

The House passed a bill requiring annual inspections of abortion clinics. The Senate has not debated any abortion-related bills.

BUDGET

The House passed a proposed $26 billion budget for next fiscal year that includes a $74 million increase in basic aid for public schools - still well short of full funding under a state formula. The budget, which is now pending in a Senate committee, also includes slight increases for colleges and universities but no pay raises for state employees.

BUILDING BONDS

A measure passed by the Senate details $400 million in bonding projects at the Capitol, higher education institutions and other state facilities. Another provision would bar Gov. Jay Nixon's administration from extending bonds without a vote of the people or Legislature - a measure targeted at a proposal for a new St. Louis Rams football stadium. The measures are pending in the House.

DAIRY INCENTIVES

The Legislature sent to the governor a bill that would create a scholarship program for dairy students and a state subsidy for federal dairy insurance. It also would require the University of Missouri to develop a plan for promoting growth in the dairy industry.

DATA CENTERS

The Legislature sent the governor a bill authorizing sales tax exemptions for data storage centers that invest minimum amounts and create jobs with higher than average county wages.

ETHICS

The Senate passed a measure that would increase public reporting on gifts to legislators, ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists until at least two years after they leave office and bar out-of-state trips paid for by lobbyists. It does not address campaign contribution limits. The measure is pending in the House.

FERGUSON FOLLOW-UP

Senators passed a bill reducing the amount of revenue cities can keep from traffic fines and fees, an issue raised by some Ferguson protesters who complained of being frequently stopped by police. That bill is pending in the House. Still pending in the Senate are measures revising Missouri's law governing police use of deadly force and setting parameters for public access to videos from police body cameras.

IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

Separate bills passed by the House and Senate would ban state financial aid or some scholarships for immigrant students living in the U.S. illegally who are attending Missouri colleges or universities. The House bill also would require colleges to charge such students an international tuition rate.

MEDICAID

Democratic lawmakers proposed expanding Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law. Republican legislative leaders said that's not on their agenda.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

The House and Senate passed different versions of legislation to reinstate caps on non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits against health care providers, which has been a priority for Republicans since the state Supreme Court struck caps down in 2012.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

The House passed a bill authorizing the creation of a state database to track prescriptions for certain medicines, an effort to spot people who may be abusing the drugs. A similar bill has been debated by the Senate but not voted upon.

STUDENT TRANSFERS

A bill passed by the House, and awaiting Senate debate, would overhaul a Missouri law that requires unaccredited school districts to pay tuition for students who opt to transfer to nearby schools. The bill would require students to first transfer to better-performing buildings within their districts and, if that's not an option, students could go to charter or online schools. A separate Senate version stalled because of cost concerns.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

A Senate committee heard testimony but has not voted on a bill that would phase in a 6-cent increase in Missouri's 17 cents-per-gallon fuel tax, and then adjust it annually for inflation.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

The House passed a measure cutting the maximum weeks of unemployment people can receive from 20 to as low as 13, depending on the unemployment rate in the state. The bill is now pending in a Senate committee, which already has sent a similar measure to the Senate floor.

UNION FEES

The House passed a right-to-work bill that would prohibit labor contracts in which unions collect fees from employees who aren't members. A Senate committee approved a similar bill, but the issue has not been debated by the full chamber.

VOTER IDENTIFICATION

The House passed a proposed constitutional amendment and an accompanying bill that would require voters to show government-issued photo identification. The measures are awaiting a hearing in a Senate committee.

WELFARE BENEFITS

The House and Senate passed different versions of a measure that would cut the number of months a family can receive cash assistance benefits from five years to 2½ under the House version and four years under the original Senate bill. The measures also include stricter work requirements for cash assistance and food stamps.

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