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Filibuster on unemployment benefits bill still looms in Senate

Filibuster on unemployment benefits bill still looms in Senate

March 27th, 2011 in News

With seven weeks to go, Missouri lawmakers face a number of major issues this spring, before the state Constitution requires them to cease business at 6 p.m. May 13.

They include the budget for the business year beginning July 1, congressional redistricting and a several proposals to rewrite.

  • Last fall's voter-approved anti-Puppy Mill law.
  • The minimum wage law voters adopted in 2008.
  • State labor laws so no one is forced to join a union or pay union dues, overturning the voters' rejection of a Right to Work proposal in 1978.
  • The 1976 voter-passed law that prohibits investor-owned utilities from charging consumers for power plant constructionwork-in-progress. But, while the Legislature's Republican leaders remain optimistic of passing their agenda this spring, some issues could be problematic. And reporters keep asking - so far with no definitive answers - whether the Senate leadership will force a vote to end debate on some of the controversies, by invoking the "previous question."

It's a procedure used regularly in the House, but rarely in the Senate where lengthy discussions - and vote-blocking filibusters - are a main part of the tradition.

In the spotlight is a House-passed bill using federal stimulus money to extend unemployment benefits for another 20 weeks - up to 99 weeks' assistance for those who are out-of-work - ran into opposition from several Senate Republicans.