Legislative scorecard: Bills that passed, bills that failed
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2011 -As the Missouri legislative session wound to an end, pending bills faced a last-minute reprieve or final death. Here's a partial list of some of the major issues that the General Assembly acted on, or deferred.
Among the bills that failed to pass:
- Site permit legislation that could lead to the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County.
- It came right down to the wire, but a bill to allow St. Louis to take local control of its police force failed.
- Tax credits of $360 million to help Lambert airport develop its "big idea" to become a China Hub -- air freight center for Chinese goods and shipment of Midwestern goods to China.
- So-called 'right to work' legislation to bar union shops in which all workers at a business must pay dues if a majority have voted to be represented by a union.
- An expansion of charter schools and alterations to public school tenure.
- A prescription requirement for pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in cold medications that is commonly used to make meth.
- Requirements that initiative petitions contain more signatures, and come from more congressional districts, to get on proposed statutes or constitutional amendments on the ballot.
- Giving the city of St. Louis control over its police department.
- Tax credits that would have supported a China hub at Lambert:
Among the measures that passed:
- The state's roughly $23 billion budget, approved by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Jay Nixon one day before the May 6 deadline.
- Compromise legislation, already signed by Nixon into law, that changes the state's dog-breeding regulations and drop some of the more restrictive requirements approved by Missouri voters last fall with the passage of Proposition B.
- A new map for the state's remaining eight congressional districts, which will go into effect with the 2012 election. The map eliminates one district -- that of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis. Nixon vetoed the map, and the General Assembly swiftly overrode him.
- A gradual phase-out of the state's franchise tax, a levy on corporation assets.
- An extension to the MoRX program, which provides prescription drug coverage for people age 65 and over.
- Limits on so-called "nuisance lawsuits" filed against farming and livestock operations. Nixon vetoed the first version to get through the legislative but approved a compromise measure.
- A wide-ranging firearms bill that, among other things, lowers the age to procure a conceal and carry permit from 23 to 21.
- Moving the state's presidential primary from February to March. Such a move was done to avoid penalties imposed by both major parties.
- Restrictions on abortions for pregnancies over 20 weeks of gestation. While Nixon has yet to take action on two identical bills, the legislation passed by veto-proof margins in both chambers.
- Incentives to keep open the Doe Run smelter in Jefferson County.
- Drug testing for welfare recipients.
- Changes in the state's anti-discrimination and whistleblower laws, to make it harder for individuals to sue. Nixon already has vetoed the bill.