Missouri lawmakers talk last-minute legislation as session nears end
JEFFERSON CITY - With the state budget for the next fiscal year officially dealt with, lawmakers are shifting focus to legislation they hope to pass in the final week of the legislative session.
Lawmakers on both sides worked into the early morning Thursday to get the $28 billion budget passed ahead of its Friday due date. With more time on their schedules, some lawmakers are hoping to get more work done on several pending bills. For Representative Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, he hopes a few bills get the focus they deserve.
"There's a major piece of legislation that's still hanging out there that we need to act on as a body within the next few days of what's remaining in session," Rep. Kendrick said. "That's Medicaid FRA, the federal reimbursement allowance."
"It helps us draw down federal dollars into our Medicaid program," Kendrick said. "So that bill sunsets this year. It's well over a billion dollars for the Medicaid program."
Kendrick said the bill came out of conference Thursday morning, something he said is a good thing. He said the money could help keep the Medicaid program going.
"We should be able to take it up in the house and Senate in the very near future," Kendrick said.
House Republicans also talked about bills they hope to see get passed before the end of the session. Representative Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, said he remains optimistic about his own tax cut bill.
"I think we've had very productive discussions on the Senate corporate rate and the income rate. We're now tracking two different bills. One's over in the Senate and one's [in the House] and so we're going to continue to work on that until six o'clock next Friday."
Rep. Haahr said that although these bills have seen changes since they were introduced, "Just like at the beginning of the year every bill that we file is going to start in one form and get better through the process," Haahr said. "In the beginning of the year when we laid out the House position on tax reform, the pillars were an income tax reduction, a corporate tax reduction and that's what these bills both focus on."
With just five days left in the session and Gov. Eric Greitens' criminal trial on felony invasion of privacy set to begin Monday, Rep. Kendrick said, "There will be some other legislation that comes up in what's left of session and there's obviously major distraction that's kind of looming over the capitol as the trial involving the governor begins next week. I'm sure that will be a distraction but we just have to focus in on our job and finishing strong."
The legislative session ends on Friday May 18th.