Would Deadlines Improve the Effectiveness of the Missouri General Assembly?
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This report is the result of a request for information about the use of deadlines in other state legislatures. The analysis focuses more on the Senate than the House, in part due to the position of those requesting the information, but the analysis and ideas presented here generally apply to the House as well. The report begins with a brief description of Missouri's effort to improve the capacity of the General Assembly in the 1970s, the most recent reform initiative and the only reform of the capacity and processes of the Missouri General Assembly since the 1940s. It also provides an overview of how the legislative process has evolved since the 1970s. The second half of the report discusses typical methods used in other states that might be applicable in Missouri to improve the processes used to develop, consider and approve legislation, including deadlines and other procedural changes. Among the more common deadlines are bill introduction deadlines, and deadlines for committee and chamber action in the house of origin. Some states also impose bill drafting request deadlines and deadlines for committees to report bills, the latter applicable to the house of origin in some cases and to both chambers in others. Deadlines are one important means for improving the flow of legislation but there are others: limiting the number of bills that a member can introduce; requiring members to designate their priority bills; allowing committees to report out priority bills as committee bills; and full or partial carry-over of bills (from the first session of a General Assembly to the second). Members of the General Assembly have not discussed ways to improve the legislative process in any formal, systematic way for many years and, in fact, the two chambers have been unable to agree on joint rules for most of the last decade. Nonetheless, significant legislative turnover in 2000, 2002, and 2004 makes it more important that the process be as rational, as streamlined and as easy to learn as possible.
Missouri Legislative Acadmey (2003) Would Deadlines Improve the Effectiveness of the Missouri General Assembly? Retrieved 10-15-09, fromhttp://www.truman.missouri.edu/ipp/publications/index.asp?ViewBy=Date