The last two weeks of session have arrived, and my colleagues and I were focused on passing the state’s operating budget before last Friday's deadline. We were able to accomplish this and the series of House bills that make up the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget received their final vote on the Senate floor in the wee hours of Friday morning.
A lesser known element of the legislative process, but equally important, are Conference Committees. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate must pass identical versions of legislation before it can reach the governor’s desk. If a piece of legislation is changed in any way in the other chamber it must go back to the originating chamber to be voted on again. If the changes are not approved, then the bill goes to a Conference Committee to work out the differences.
Members of these conference committees include the Senate and House handler of the bill and Senate and House members appointed by the Speaker and President Pro Tem. The committee meets to discuss the merits of the bill and the proposed changes. This allows members of both chambers to reach a compromise and to pass the best possible version of the legislation. It is truly a collaborative effort, and I look forward to discussing some of my Senate bills in a conference committee with the hopes that we will pass the legislation before the end of the 2019 legislative session.
I always appreciate hearing your opinions and concerns regarding your state government. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at 573-751-4008. You may write me at Gary Romine, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101; or email me at email@example.com. For more information, please visit my official Senate webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/romine.