Wrap Up Of Missouri Legislative Session – 2015

mo-sealJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)- Missouri’s Legislature crumbled in the days before the deadline to pass bills, stunted by gridlock in the Senate and the resignation of House Speaker John Diehl.

Instead of a typical final week packed with last-minute votes on at least 100 measures or more, state lawmakers at times took lunch breaks lasting more than two hours and passed fewer than 50 bills. The partisan fighting even led to a much-discussed measure meant to address police use of deadly force following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson falling by the wayside. But amid the chaos, Republicans armed with some of the party’s largest numbers in the state Legislature still managed to pass a number of high-priority bills.

Among the GOP priorities that passed both chambers: reducing the length of time of available jobless benefits, welfare cuts, a broad bill aimed at helping the agriculture industry and the prized right-to-work bill.

While Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed the agriculture bill last month, he vetoed both the unemployment assistance and welfare measures and has said the right-to-work bill will be similarly blocked. Republicans already have overridden his veto on the welfare bill. The measure to tie the number of weeks of available jobless benefits to the state’s unemployment rate needs another two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to become law, a move senators have said could occur during the short September veto session.

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