JEFFERSON CITY - It was a tale of two bodies Friday as lawmakers race to the end of session came to a standstill in the Senate.
As the House added amendments to an education bill, Senate Democrats grounded to a halt over a conflict that spilled over from the night before.
The conflict is over a deal Democrats struck with Republicans Thursday night. Senators referenced a breach of trust that spurred them to filibuster until 6 p.m.
Democrats vowed to run out the clock on the session, leaving unresolved issues in limbo between the House and the Senate.
"I don't know how serious repair happens at this point because the bond is broken," Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) said. "It's shattered."
On the House side, representatives worked to add fruitless amendments to an education bill that was dead as soon as Democrats began their filibuster.
Earlier in the day, the House passed House Bill 297, which removes a cap on tuition for community colleges and four-year universities. Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs) said the cap was removed to create more transparency and allow universities more flexibility.
"(It) is a really good mechanism to be able to make those degrees that are less expensive, it allows those degrees to then be less expensive for the students," Richey said. "This is a very important part of this bill, I believe wholeheartedly that this is good policy."
The House also passed a bill that creates a "Wayfair tax." House Bill 554 that would add a tax to online vendors who don't have a physical presence in Missouri. Missouri was one of the final states to get the Wayfair tax into law.
The bill also came with tax cuts. It included two provisions added in the Senate that lower the state's top income tax rate to 5.0% and creates new earned-income tax credit.
"I stepped out there, on January 6th, and I set the goal, of some things that we wanted to get done. Here we are today, standing there with some of those goals accomplished. With some of those not every one of our caucus agrees with everything that we got done, including myself, there was some things that passed that even I didn't vote for. But collectively as a group, we continue to work through some of those things, and here we are today," said Rob Vescovo (R), Speaker of the House in a press conference after the session ended.
The House Democrats also felt they had a successful 2021 session.
"We're proud of our work providing critical support on a range of legislative accomplishments this year. It's very unlikely that we get hearings, our bills don't cross the finish line. But that said, we had well over 25 bills that our members filed cross the finish line this year. Now, they may not have had our names on it. But we don't care, because we're here for good policy," said Crystal Quade (D), Minority Floor Leader.
The grinding halt comes at the end of a legislative session that has been flush with cash for the first time in years. The passage of the state budget included several increases in funding in key areas like higher education. It also included funding for several one-time projects.
Notably the budget was missing Medicaid expansion that voters added to the constitution last August. That conflict is unrelated to the filibuster on the Senate floor that occurred Friday.