Missouri takeover of city of St. Louis police, sports betting bills fail to pass at General Assembly

Missouri takeover of city of St. Louis police, sports betting bills fail to pass at General Assembly

The Missouri General Assembly adjourned on Friday without passing any sports betting legislation or a bill that would have allowed the state to take over the police department of St. Louis. The Missouri General Assembly failed to pass a bill that would have made it more difficult to amend the state Constitution through initiative petitions.

This was a blow for St. Louis professional sports teams who had lobbied heavily to legalize sports betting, which could have allowed them to earn revenue through partnerships with gambling companies. St. Louis mayor Tishaura and conservative activist Rex Sinquefield won the battle against the return of control to the state.

Missouri House versions of the sports betting and state takeover bills were passed, but the Senate held them up. Sinquefield lobbyists opposed the state takeover and St. Louis top prosecutor Kim Gardner said she would resign on June 1, if legislation removing her powers was dropped.

According to a Missouri Independent article, the Senate "went off rails" on Friday. Sen. Bill Eigel of Weldon Springs, a Republican candidate for governor in 2019, tried to use procedural maneuvers to force a vote to cut personal property taxes. The chamber instead voted to move to a bill which would legalize sports betting. Eigel then filed a filibuster.

Greater St. Louis Inc. (the primary private sector business group in St. Louis) said through its Chief Policy Officer Tracy Henke, that it was pleased with a number of measures it supports, including $16 millions for startups via Missouri Technology Corp. $15 million for St. Louis’ Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center, $11.7 for public transportation, $2.8 billion to widen Interstate 70 throughout the state, and more than 100 million dollars for pre-kindergarten.

Also, measures to ban foreign purchases of Missouri farmland and exempt feminine hygiene products, diapers, and grocery food from sales taxes failed during this legislative session.