SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Missouri lawmakers have only two weeks to get everything done before the end of the first regular legislative session.
“The biggest thing, that’ll have to get done is the budget,” said Dr. Dan Ponder a political science professor at Drury University. Dr. Ponder says the biggest priority for lawmakers is finishing and approving the budget.
“The budget has to be balanced and that has to be done, pretty much by the end of the session,” said Dr. Ponder. “There is some talk of going into special session, which is usually the case in the summer.”
“There’s so much entailed in it to thoroughly vet it and go through it,” said Rep Bill Owens. “Both from the House standpoint and the Senate. I’m sure these last two weeks, we’ll see a lot of things start to really happen.”
Historically, state lawmakers rush to get bills passed before the end of the session, and Dr. Ponder says this session is no different.
“They’re starting to feel the pressure, especially as we get to the last couple of days,” said Dr. Ponder.
“It started this week, really, where everybody’s looking for a vehicle to get their bill on as an amendment onto somebody else’s,” said Owens. ” My other bill is what I’m focusing on now.”
Owens says the bill would allow for a land bank which would offer a way for the city of Springfield to qualify buyers for land owned by the city. Dr. Ponder says another bill lawmakers may push for in the next two weeks could be a tax increase for online purchases.
“Springfield, for example, has for years, kind of come up short because one of the things that fund city governments is sales tax, and you’re not getting sales tax because people are buying from online vendors,” said Dr. Ponders. “Particularly, that was increased during the pandemic, then that really impacts local government budgets.”
The last day of the session is May 14, 2021.