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The Session Has Ended

May 16, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Missouri lawmakers wrapped up this year's regular session on Friday.

Missy Shelton has this overview of the session.

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And with that, the legislative session ended at 6 p-m last Friday.

Lawmakers sent the govenror a long list of bills dealing with a wide range of issues.

From posting information about sex offenders on the internet to providing wigs to children on Medicaid who suffer from a rare hair-loss disease called alopecia.

From authorizing concealed weapons, to creating a mandatory 24 hour wait period for women seeking abortions.

At his post-session press conference, Democratic Governor Bob Holden vowed to veto the concealed weapons bill and the abortion legislation.

One of the biggest questions the governor left unanswered was whether he would veto the budget.

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The governor also stayed mum about a possible special session to deal with revenue packages to offset the budget cuts lawmakers approved.

Before the governor's press conference, House Speaker Catherine Hanaway says she hopes the governor signs the budget.

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The governor says he was focused on jobs.

He applaudes lawmakers for passing legislation that will stimulate development in downtown areas.

But Democrats and Republicans disagree on the merits of one piece of legislation related to businesses.

Lawmakers sent the governor a bill that limits the awards plaintiffs can receive in liability lawsuits against companies.

Supporters hailed the bill as a way to stop the rising malpractice insurance costs for doctors.

But Democrats in the House complained they never had a chance to speak against the bill when it came up for debate Friday.

Mark Abel is the top democrat in the House.

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The proceedural maneuvering that shut off House debate was necessary, according to House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

She says the bill would've died if Republicans hadn't forced a vote.

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Despite the efforts of Republicans to get this bill to the govenror, Bob Holden says he'll veto it.

While there's sure to be a showdown in the September veto session over the liability legislation, concealed weapons and abortion, the Republican-controlled General Assembly and the governor do agree on a few issues.

One of those is a bill designed to reward good nursing homes and increase penalties for facilities that violate state regulations.

The governor has said he expects to sign that bill.

Now that the session has ended, lawmakers are waiting to see what happens with the budget and whether or not they'll be returning to the capitol for a special session.

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