Following a short break, the Missouri General Assembly resumes session on Tuesday.
In case you missed it, here are a few highlights of the 2016 legislative session so far, as well as a few developing stories to keep watch through the coming weeks.
Jan. 27 – The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, or MONA, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to the Missouri Human Rights Statute, attempts another run at codification this session, the 18th year in a row.
Feb. 8 – The Missouri Senate debates SB 816, which would repeal the state’s death penalty. Since then, progress on the bill has stalled, although it remains on the Senate’s informal calendar for further debate.
Feb. 24 – The Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments in Progress Missouri v. Missouri Senate, in which a liberal advocacy group is suing the state Senate for disruption of a supposed right to film public hearings. The Supreme Court later transferred the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, where it awaits further action.
Mar. 8 – Senate Democrats filibuster a Republican-backed “religious liberty” bill opponents say would discriminate against LGBT Missourians. The filibuster ends after two days of deliberation, allowing the bill to pass through the state Senate.
Mar. 8 – The Missouri House of Representatives votes to deepen budget cuts for the University of Missouri, following backlash from campus leadership’s handling of protests that gained national attention last November. Increased funding through private donations, however, may help the university recover from the cuts.
Mar. 14 – The Missouri legislature has introduced at least 17 bills regarding concealed carry over the course of the current legislative session, including the extremely controversial “campus carry” bills, which would see concealed carry legalized on college campuses in the state. Few, if any, of these bills are likely to pass, however.
Mar. 27 – Ethics reform for the state legislature continues its rocky trajectory with few bills of substance making their way into law this session, despite lawmakers’ earlier stated goals.