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Missouri Legislature passes few bills in slow session

Missouri House/Jefferson City, Mo.
Missouri House/Jefferson City, Mo.(ky3)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers passed few bills during the 2022 legislative session, in part because of gridlock in the Republican-led Senate.

Senators adjourned Thursday after approving new congressional districts, cutting off work on all other bills. The GOP-led House continued work on the last day of the session Friday to pass the remaining legislation that did not die in the Senate.

Measures that passed:

COVID-19

A top House priority would protect patient visitor access at hospitals and nursing homes. Other legislation ensures patients have a shot at getting organ donations even if they refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

VOTING

A Democratic-backed proposal would allow two weeks of no-excuse, in-person absentee voting. Currently, voters need to cite an excuse for why they won’t be able to vote in-person on Election Day.

Another measure requires voters to show government-issued photo identification to cast ballots. Voters who don’t bring valid IDs could cast provisional ballots.

EMINENT DOMAIN

Eminent domain could be used for the Grain Belt Express, a large wind-energy power line cutting through Missouri. The legislation requires higher compensation for farm owners in future electrical grid projects.

KANSAS CITY POLICE FUNDING

A bill would require Kansas City to spend 25% of its budget on the police department.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Lawmakers blocked public funding for Planned Parenthood, including clinics that do not provide abortions.

PRISON NURSERIES

Imprisoned mothers convicted of nonviolent crimes would be eligible for a new prison nursery program.

REDISTRICTING

The Missouri Legislature broke a monthslong stalemate to approve new congressional districts that are expected to continue Republicans’ edge in upcoming elections.

TAX CREDITS

Middle-income taxpayers are slated to get tax credits up to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly or $500 for single adults under a budget proposal, although the exact amount available per taxpayer is unclear and also depends on individuals’ tax liability.

Measures that died:

CRITICAL RACE THEORY

Missouri proposals sought to ban K-12 public schools from compelling students or teachers from saying “that individuals, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.”

GUNS

Measures to allow gun holders with concealed carry permits to bring firearms on public transportation, as well as churches, were among the casualties of gridlock.

INITIATIVE PETITIONS

Republicans, frustrated after voters in recent years have repeatedly used the initiative petition process to enact Democratic-supported policies such as the expansion of Medicaid health care, this year unsuccessfully sought to raise the bar to amend the Missouri Constitution.

NEEDLE EXCHANGE

A proposal would have allowed needle-exchange programs, in which people struggling with addiction could trade in dirty needles for clean ones to limit the spread of diseases such as HIV and certain types of hepatitis.

TRANSGENDER ATHLETES

Some Republicans sought to require transgender students to compete on teams that match the sex listed on their birth certificates. Missouri’s current public high school sports rules already prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls teams unless they’re undergoing hormone therapy.

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