State legislators run to get bills passed before end of session
JEFFERSON CITY - The clock is ticking, and state lawmakers are working to get their bills voted on before the end of the general assembly Friday evening.
"There is a lot of individual members who have priorities that they want to see pushed," said Rep. Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia).
With the session coming to a close, the legislative agenda is subject to change.
"It's the final week of session, so a lot of things move that maybe weren't seen to be moving. Nothing is dead until 6:00 p.m. on Friday," said Kendrick.
One of the bills the legislature will work on is the federal reimbursement allowance for Medicaid. A sanction of that bill would generate more than one billion dollars in revenue for the state.
"It's made it out of the Senate, so that's up for a final House vote once we adopt the conference committee report. So that shouldn't be an issue, that we'll get passed," Kendrick said.
Kendrick added there could also be a transportation bill that would put a measure on the ballot for a gasoline tax increase.
"I suspect that we would amend the bill in the House to make it more favorable for a potential vote, should it go to a vote of the people," he said. "We would likely run out of time as a result of amending it, but it's possible, who knows, maybe the Senate would take it back up and pass it."
Rep. Sara Walsh (R-Ashland) also said the general assembly needs to work on the bill that would increase funding for transportation.
"One thing that I've heard all throughout the district is the importance of our roads and the road conditions," she said. "What we would vote on, and it would go to a vote of the people, would be a 10 cents gas tax increase."
Kendrick said in the final days of the 99th General Assembly legislators should create alliances to get the work done in time.
"It's pretty critical at this point, coming down to the final week, to have strong allies, strong support both from state as a large to push the priorities further, but also making sure the alliances are pushing both in the House and the Senate," he said.
Walsh has already starting thinking about bills to bring to the legislature next year.
"One thing I am going to work on next general assembly, that didn't quite make it through this session, would be a fire safety fund bill, working with the Missouri Department of Public Safety," she said.
The 100th General Assembly will start in January 2019 when legislators will have the chance to file again any of the bills that do not get voted on during the current legislative session.