To use a football term, with four weeks left in this session, we are in the fourth quarter and set for an exciting finish. So far, 120 of the 1,558 House bills that have been filed have made their way to the floor for debate. Three of those bills have been passed by both the House and Senate, and sent to Governor Parson. One of those bills was an economic development bill for the Rosecrans base in St. Joseph, one helps citizens who adopt children, and one helps foster care families.
In the last few weeks of session things tend to move quickly. This is the time when many bills get turned into amendments that can be added to other bills that are moving through the legislative process. Much like Lego’s snap together to make great creations, different bills of similar topic with no controversy are often combined to make one bill. This is an efficient way to pass multiple good ideas in the limited amount of time the legislature has to meet.
But just as the right pieces or amendments can make a bill better, a wrong one can destroy the original bill. This is often referred to as a poison pill amendment. For example, on a recent bill debated on the floor about higher education, six bills were combined into one. Five of the bills were good (or at least harmless) changes to policy concerning our states colleges. But the sixth one would result in notably higher tuition costs for parents and students to bear, and more student loan debt. This puts legislators in the tough spot of being blamed for voting against some good stuff if they vote No, or blamed for voting for bad stuff if they vote Yes. But, that’s part of the job.
If you want to watch any of the floor debate and see the interesting process of how a bill becomes a law, visit the web site house.mo.gov, and click on “Video” to watch live action or “Archive” to watch footage from previous debates.
Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.