Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, talked to me Tuesday about the legislative session just ending.
He said there is still the tiniest glimmer of hope for restoring 35,000 people to Medicaid. But, as in the case of Tinkerbell at death’s door, he said, “we’ll have to do a lot of clapping.”
Usually, we measure a legislative session by what gets passed, but Kelly maintains that this time, we’ll measure it by what didn’t make it. And, as of Tuesday, at least, he was glad to see the following ideas looking pretty dead:
- campus conceal/carry
- a constitutional amendment about prayer (At best, he says its akin to telling people that Missouri is called Missouri. The federal and state constitutions have protected the right to prayer for a couple of hundred years now, so why restate the obvious? And at worst, this two page law runs the risk of unintended consequences. What those might be, he couldn’t say, since “unintended” indicates that we don’t know yet.)
- coerced abortion
- court “deform” (“No,” he tells me, “I didn’t say court reform; I said court deform.)”
I’d have added substituting a larger sales tax for the state income tax, but Kelly doesn’t follow the progressive orthodoxy on that one. He likes that sales tax idea. (I didn’t have time to get into the details of his opinion. Must ask sometime.)
He did see a few minor victories, like:
- $12 million for Metro
- Retaining the Caring for Missouri program, which trains health care workers for rural Missouri
- the possibility that still exists that HJR 32, his own proposal, will get past Crowell’s filibuster in the Senate. The constitutional amendment would allow entities to propose up to $800 million in general obligation bond issues for buildings in higher educational institutions and other places like mental health institutions. The votes are there if Crowell were to fold.