Unusual Missouri Legislative Session Ends with Little Impact on PSRS/PEERS
The General Assembly wrapped up the coronavirus-shortened 2020 legislative session on May 15. It was a busy session for PSRS/PEERS, as the Systems tracked over 290 bills, almost double the usual number, with 2,247 total bills introduced and 51 bills passed by both chambers and awaiting action from the governor.
Due to COVID-19, lawmakers were on recess for a few weeks mid-session as the state implemented social distancing. Upon their April 24 return, the focus was on passing a balanced budget amid economic changes regarding COVID-19. The General Assembly completed their constitutional duty of writing and passing a balanced budget to fund the core function of government. The budget was completed by the deadline of May 8. Missouri grants the governor the power of line item veto on appropriation bills only. The governor has the ability to reject individual line items without vetoing the entire bill.
After the budget was complete, the General Assembly focused on other legislative issues that were still pending from earlier in the year. Due to a shortened session, the General Assembly began legislating by omnibus bill. Omnibus bills are legislation that might have one similar topic, such as political subdivisions, but contain many different and diverse provisions including retirement issues. These normally start out as very simple bills and end up covering multiple topics and containing more than 100 pages.
This year, there were only two bills that passed that directly impact the internal operations of the Systems and about five bills that passed that have a tangential impact to the Systems. None of the bills that have been truly agreed to and finally passed impact PSRS/PEERS benefits or memberships.
Governor Parson has until July 14, 2020 to sign or veto bills, or the bills become law without signature. Unless otherwise indicated in the bill text, the effective date of most legislation is August 28, 2020.