Originally posted in the eMissourian on May 23, 2019.
The Missouri General Assembly can point with a degree of pride to its accomplishments in the session that ended last week. Of course, there was disappointment that some bills didn’t pass and disagreement with some of the successful measures that were approved.
It was a good session for Gov. Mike Parson, who championed some of the legislation that passed even though some of the approved bills were not quite what he wanted. His goals were mostly reached.
The Republican majority sent the governor one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the nation. He is expected to sign it. Gov. Parson advocated a “culture of life” for the state. For many Missourians who have fought under the banner of pro-life for many decades, it was an answer to their prayers.
Gov. Parson also wanted an infrastructure improvement program and the General Assembly delivered, approving a bridge bonding measure which wasn’t exactly what he proposed but it is an important start.
Incentives for business and workforce development programs were moved forward by the Legislature. An incentive package for the General Motors plant at Wentzville was approved. The $50 million in incentives will help GM expand its plant.
Not all public schools are pleased with a bill that passed, which bars districts from starting classes earlier than 14 days before the first Monday of September.
The governor had spirited opposition on some of his priorities by Republicans who created a conservative caucus. But overall, in the end, most of those priorities were approved except in a slightly different form.
A veteran of both the House and Senate, and a year as lieutenant governor, Gov. Parson understands compromise in getting along with the legislative branch. The governor is quite a contrast to former Gov. Eric Greitens, who believed more in promoting himself than working on behalf of Missourians. His resignation brought a welcomed change to state government.
One of the most significant bills that was defeated was one to weaken Clean Missouri, the ethics reform measure and redistricting that was approved by voters last November. Also defeated was a bill to allow teachers to carry guns and permit concealed weapons in public buildings, including college campuses, child care facilities and places of worship.
Also defeated was a measure that would ban local public officials from accepting lobbyist gifts exceeding $5, and exempt records from disclosure that contain advice, opinions and recommendations that any member of a “public governmental body” receives or prepares.
Overall it was a successful session, especially from the governor’s and the majority of Missourians’ standpoint.