House, Senate bills ‘cross over’ in committee

BY State Rep. Bruce Sassmann, Missouri’s 62nd District
Posted 5/5/21

This past week, I was invited into the office of the Speaker of the House.

Speaker Rob Vescovo presented me with the Freshman of the Year award for my work as an advocate for conservation. At the …

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House, Senate bills ‘cross over’ in committee

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This past week, I was invited into the office of the Speaker of the House.
Speaker Rob Vescovo presented me with the Freshman of the Year award for my work as an advocate for conservation. At the beginning of this legislative session, the Speaker assigned me to the House Committee on Conservation and Natural Resources. I appreciate the Speaker’s recognition of my work.
Lawmakers with districts on the Rock Island railroad corridor and the Katy Trail State Park visited this week with State Parks Director Mike Sutherland. Ron Bentch with Missourians for Responsible Transportation and Kendra Varns Wallis with the Missouri Parks Association were also in attendance.
In addition to private funding opportunities, Bentch and Wallis reported on a collective effort with Director Sutherland to gain access to some federal dollars. State parks and several organizations are working hard to make the Rock Island Trail a reality. The success of those efforts is dependent on some creative financing.
As we enter the final two weeks of the 2021 legislative session, House and Senate bills are starting to cross over.
The Senate will spend most of their time debating and voting on House bills, and the House is engaged in the same process with Senate bills. During this process, amendments can and will be added to each of the bills. As a result, the House and the Senate might pass two different versions of the same bill.
To resolve any differences, a vote by each of the legislative bodies could send the conflicting bills to a conference committee.
Conference committees are a tricky business in the Missouri Legislature.
A conference committee consists of ten legislators, five from the House and five from the Senate. Typically, the conference committee members confine their discussion to the differences between the House and Senate positions on the legislation. Once the conference committee agrees on changes, the final version of the bill is sent back to the House and Senate for one final vote.
We have a lot to get done by Friday, May 14. These last two weeks are a dangerous time. The devil is always in the details. I’m sure there will be some late nights.
Any legislation not truly agreed and finally passed by 5 p.m. on the last day, will be tossed out and the process starts from scratch in January of 2022.

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