Legislative Column for the Week of May 18, 2015
That's a Wrap, Folks

On Friday, May 15, the gavel fell several hours early, signaling the end of the First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly. By law, the session would adjourn by 6:00 p.m. that day, but due to certain internal issues, a decision was made to end it before the deadline.

While the last two days of session were marred by conflict, overall, it was a fairly productive time for the Legislature. The General Assembly passed 55 Senate bills, 76 House bills, and 20 various resolutions, all delivered to the governor’s desk.

The Legislature passed the state operating budget of $26.1 billion for FY 2016, keeping the various programs and institutions running, such as K-12 and Higher Education, the Missouri Departments of Transportation, Public Safety and Office of Administration, as well as the Departments of Social Services, Mental Health, and Health and Senior Services.

Senate Bill 24 restructures the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which is intended to give welfare recipients more motivation to return to the work force and become gainfully employed. The money saved by this legislation will then be used for child care, job training and transportation services. I feel this is a win/win situation.

Many other good pieces of legislation were passed this session, including SB 239, a bill I sponsored, that will limit the amount of non-economic judgments against healthcare professionals. This bill will discourage frivolous lawsuits and help reduce skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates, keeping more qualified doctors in the state; SB 5, also known as the Macks Creek Law, which will help reduce speed traps in municipalities that generate a large portion of their revenue from traffic fines; and House Bills 116 and 569, known as the Right-to-Work legislation, which removes the requirements for certain employees to join labor unions as a condition of employment. This will result in a more competitive work environment and faster job growth in our state.

For a complete list of legislation that has or will become law, visit senate.mo.gov.  

As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/brown.

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.