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Poor And Low-Income Families Not At Top Of Legislative Agenda

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By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

The Missouri legislative session ended with a bang as the Speaker of the House, Republican John Diehl, resigned amid a “sexting” scandal involving an intern.
His departure attracted attention away from the fact that only 130 bills made it to the finish line compared to 190 last year.
With the exception of the suicide of Missouri Auditor  Tom Schweich,  and Republicans overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the state’s welfare cuts, very little was done by the Republican controlled House and Senate to improve the quality of life for all Missourians.
House Democrats criticized the welfare bill, which shortens the time a low-income family can draw benefits to three years and nine months from the current five years. Democrats said the change, along with a bill reducing the number of weeks that people could receive unemployment benefits, would poke holes in the social safety net.
“We’ve hurt kids,” said House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis. “We’ve cut unemployment. All we’ve done is attack families.”
State Rep. Brandon Ellington said it has been a very trying year.
“This has been a very trying year. Only six of the bills that I co-sponsored made it to the finish line, being truly agreed and finally passed,” he said.

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