Legislature Spring Break Update

27 Mar

The Legislature will reconvene this week after a two week spring break. Unlike college kids, who get wild and crazy over spring break, Missouri legislators calm down during spring break, spending time at home with their families. They save their wild and crazy conduct for Jefferson City.

Here is an update on some noteworthy votes taken in the past month. I post these on Facebook as they happen, but I like to collect them here since it serves as a better long-term record. Items posted on Facebook disappear pretty quickly and are not easy to retrieve.

Beer bill (SB 919): This bill “would allow beer companies to lease portable refrigeration units to grocers and convenience stores, and allow those same stores to sell beer in reusable containers known as growlers.” Opponents argued it would benefit big brewers at the expense of small brewers, by letting companies like Anheuser-Busch take up more space in stores. Proponents said it was a good deal for everyone. JeffCo senators Paul Wieland and Gary Romine voted yes on this bill, which passed the Senate.

Prescription drug monitoring program (HB 1892): This bill would make Missouri the 50th state to implement a database to track prescriptions in order to prevent people from shopping around to acquire opiods from multiple doctors. This bill passed the House. Voting yes on this bill from JeffCo were Reps. Ben Harris (the lone JeffCo Democrat), Dan Shaul, and Elaine Gannon. Voting against it were Reps. John McCaherty, Rob Vescovo, Becky Ruth, and Shane Roden. Here is why McCaherty said he opposes it in his weekly newsletter:

My issues with this version of the bill is more on the lines of its usage. Physicians and pharmacist are not required to use the database, and in states where there is lot requirement, such as Florida the data is accessed less than 2% of the time. Is the answer to create a database that is used so little??

Thus, in his mind the benefits of the bill did not outweigh the risks to privacy, including risks from hackers.

Paycheck protection (HB 1891): This bill passed the House in February (I wrote on it here) and made its way to the Senate, where it passed before being vetoed by the Governor. However, an override attempt is likely to take place, as the bill passed by sufficient margins for an override. Senator Wieland voted against it, while Senator Romine, who was present during the early part of the over seven hour debate, was absent when the vote was taken. Convenient absence in an election year?

SJR 39:

This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the qualified voters of this state, prohibits the state from imposing a penalty on a religious organization who acts in accordance with a sincere religious belief concerning same sex marriage, which includes the refusal to perform a same sex marriage ceremony or allow a same sex wedding ceremony to be performed on the religious organization’s property.

The state cannot penalize an individual who declines, due to sincere religious beliefs, to provide goods of expressional or artistic creation for a same sex wedding or wedding reception.

This bill was filibustered for 39 hours in the Senate before passing, drawing national attention. This is similar to bills that have gained attention in other states. Senators Wieland and Romine voted for it.

Critchlow law (HB 1432): Rep. Vescovo’s bill to curb the overuse of paid administrative leave for wrongdoers like Dianne Critchlow and Melissa Click. This bill passed the House, as it did last year before dying in the Senate. Reps. Vescovo, McCaherty, Roden, and Shaul voted for it, while Reps. Ruth, Gannon, and Harris voted no.

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