Every year our state Legislature meets from the first week in January through mid-May. Each of these annual sessions is earmarked by its own distinctive ‘culture’ as the political landscape flows in a continual fluid state. No two years are alike – even when the legislative process and many political dynamics remain the same (and yet, even these are ever changing also).

The 2005 Missouri General Assembly has been no exception. While the trials and tribulations of the Legislature riddle every annual session with snares and pitfalls, survival becomes a life and death struggle for many issues and interests. As a good friend of mine recently put it, “The legislative process can be a pretty bloody contact sport”. The only error in his analogy is that this is no “sport.” The 2005 Regular Session and this ‘brief’ Legislative Summary following remind us that this is real life – and it impacts your culture, your community, and your family!

While not everyone is concerned with the failure of bills such as HB 36 to legalize midwifery or HB 645 to extend a 1 year dependency deduction for stillbirths – not all are sensitive to the new law helping adopted adult siblings find each other as passed in SB 21, stricter guidelines for mercury in vaccinations passed with SB 74, or modest reform to DFS hotline records adopted with SB 155.

Public policy, as I have previously outlined, is more comparable to the complicated strategies of warfare than to any board game, like chess. Every day we face newly discovered facets which force us to be flexible, forever reviewing, renewing and readjusting our strategies.

Reforms related to judicial activism found in such bills as HJR 10, HJR 11, HJR 23, & SJR 16 did not pass but neither did SB 296 giving monetary aid to illegal aliens. Yet this year saw adoption of HB 353 requiring proof of citizenship to become a Missouri voter, disqualifying federal felons from being candidates, & going after fraudulent voters.

After thousands upon thousands of bills, hearings, amendments, meetings and debates your State Legislature passed 86 House Bills, 94 Senate Bills (including a proposed Constitutional Amendment) for a total of 180 bills ranging in sizes from one to one hundred pages, plus an additional fifteen appropriations bills composing the 2006 Missouri State Budget – a 19.2 Billion dollar behemoth – balanced without a penny in new taxes!

Kerry Messer and Abram Messer, MFN staff (standing) join Governor Blunt for several bill signing ceremonies.

While the 2005 General Assembly accomplished one of the most important reforms necessary for long term economic stability and healthful growth for the entire state with the passage of major tort reform (HB 393) – lawmakers also created new protections for the ‘American Dream’ by passing HB 576 to protect small businesses for the ‘small guy’ and SB 355 to help protect the family farm! SB 420 even helps to protect passport processing!

Here for your viewing pleasure is the outcome of just some of the bills introduced in 2005. Every bill listed in this MFN Summary is available online. To review sponsors and co-sponsors, read the full text, see who supported or opposed a bill in committee or other additional information – visit the Missouri House or Senate web sites and type in the bill reference. Remember, this is a simple snapshot summary of the performance of the 93rd General Assembly, First Regular Session.