The end of session is nearly upon us. These are the most challenging times.
There are now many bills that have been heard in committee and are coming to the floor and trying to get passed in the House and then in the Senate. Likewise, the Senate is passing its bills, so there is a never-ending discussion as to whose bills go first. I think there are more efficient ways we could operate the House and Senate; however, with the combination of human nature being what it is and the number of people who would have to be convinced to change things, I do not see it happening. It is simply a matter of playing the cards you have been dealt and playing them in the most efficient and effective manner.
House Bill 557, the Child Residential Home Notification Act, has now passed the House, is out of committee in the Senate and on the way to the Senate floor. To date, there has not been one negative vote on the bill itself, and there have been no amendments other than mine. In addition, there are discussions with Senators to put this bill on as an amendment to their Senate bills when they arrive to the House from the Senate.
House Bills 384 and 163, relating to Second Injury Fund financing and matters relating to Second Injury Fund, has now passed the House, been through committee and passed out of Senate committee also this week. My Senate counterpart is attempting to get the bill heard on the floor of the Senate, but I also have it as an amendment on a Senate bill that will be heard on the floor of the House.
House Bill 160, relating to giving county commissioners more option on how jurors are paid, has moved out of the House and is on the way to the Senate. I also have it on a Senate bill that will be heard on the Judiciary Committee, of which I am the vice chair.
House Bill 162, which has an amendment that I added on behalf of the Secretary of State and various Realtor organizations relating to limited liability companies, has been passed out of the House. The Senate sponsor is setting it for committee hearings and hoping to get it to the floor of the Senate, but we are also in discussions to place it onto another Senate bill that has already passed through the Senate.
House Bill 164, relating to school districts, has passed on another House bill as an amendment. However, the bill is now going to be modified to adopt my principle that school districts should not be mandated to divide into subdistricts for the election of school board members. This new amendment is already set to go on another Senate bill.
House Bill 347, the Uniform Depositions and Discovery Act, would reduce litigation costs and provide a uniform method to do discovery by a subpoena in multistate litigation. This bill is working its way through the House and is also being placed on a Senate bill.
House Bill 159 deals with renewable energy in general, allowing the energy generated by the Bagnell Dam to qualify as renewable energy. The bill has been placed on another Senate bill, which is coming through one of the committees.
The workload at this time is substantial because on judiciary, we are taking many of the Senate bills and attaching House bills to them. Further, all of these bills have to be made consistent with the title of the bill. In addition to everything else I do as a representative, I may be handling anywhere from 10-15 amendments being placed on these bills.
I am also on the House Legislative Review Committee. When certain types of inconsistencies and errors are discovered during debate, they are sent to this committee to see if they can be resolved so the bill can continue.
There are some tough times also. This week, we voted to expel a member out of the House of Representatives. We do not take those actions lightly. Not only was his conduct unthinkable but the lack of remorse, the attempted cover-up, and the additional pain he inflicted on his family and his children just could not be tolerated and should never be tolerated.
What is concerning is what isn't happening. We have not addressed infrastructure, gas tax and COVID-19 liability issues; Medicaid expansion has not been resolved, and the whole budget has not come back from the Senate yet. It appears there are different opinions as to what our budget should contain. I am worried in these last few weeks the bills we need to operate our government efficiently will be put on the back burner. However, a lot can happen in three weeks.
As always, call or email with your questions, thoughts and concerns.
State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 59th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.