Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Missouri lawmakers have left Jefferson City for their annual spring break.

Republican leaders are touting their accomplishments and suggesting that the scandal surrounding Gov. Eric Greitens has had little effect on the day-to-day business of the legislature.

Two bills aim to expand high-speed broadband in rural parts of Missouri through contracts with electric cooperatives.

“The intent of the bills is to codify for the first time that it is public policy of the state of Missouri to provide access to high speed, reliable broadband,” said Senate bill sponsor Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, in opening statements to a Senate committee last week.

Democrats pushing for bill to ban foreign ownership of Missouri farmland

Mar 15, 2018

A bill in the Missouri House would bring back a ban on foreign ownership of Missouri farmland.

The ban was lifted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2013, allowing foreign ownership of up to one percent of farmland in the state. But Stephen Webber, the chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, said lifting the ban has given foreign corporations too much control in Missouri’s agriculture industry.

“They’ve got the ability to bully small family farmers [and] to manipulate prices and policies,” Webber said.

House and Senate leaders are working on getting some key priorities wrapped up before lawmakers leave in a week for legislative spring break.

This week, the House sent 20 bills to the Senate, while the upper chamber sent 21 to the House. But the lower chamber held off on sending one bill crucial to the Republican agenda. That measure would do away with Missouri’s prevailing wage, which mandates that non-union workers hired for public projects must be paid the same amount as union members.

The Missouri House has passed legislation designed to reduce the number of asbestos lawsuits filed in the state.

The bill would require plaintiffs to submit their medical histories as evidence, including things not related to their claim. It would also make it easier for defendants to seek delays, and, if they lose, it would allow them within a year’s time to ask a judge for a reversal under certain conditions.