Senators have been holding up progress on adopting Missouri’s 2018 budget and many other key legislative goals by holding a series of filibusters that repeatedly bring action to a standstill.
Members from both parties have been taking advantage of Senate rules that foster open discussion, using them to block items they oppose, or in retribution against lawmakers whose actions they haven’t liked.
Earlier this week, senators were in the chamber until after 5 a.m. as some lawmakers halted action on a controversial proposal to end a tax break for seniors who rent their homes. Other issues that have driven delays include disagreement over managed care plans for Medicaid.
Filibustering is often used to force compromise, buy time for behind-the-scenes deals to occur or kill bills. But many lawmakers say the tactic is being abused this session.
And with the end of the session nearing, time is of the essence. Lawmakers were given Gov. Eric Greitens’ draft of a budget later than usual, and the deadline to have their final version to Greitens is May 5.
With Republicans in charge of both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor’s office, early expectations were that the party would have little trouble moving legislation, but often that hasn’t been the case.
Read more: Columbia Missourian