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Lawmakers wrap up 2015 legislative session

State lawmakers wrapped up the last day of the 2015 legislative session at the Capitol Friday.

The Senate called it quits early Friday afternoon just after passing the controversial multi-billion dollar Medicaid bill.

The House was in session until about 5:50 p.m., and all legislation pending in the Senate is dead.

Friday marked the first day for new Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, who was sworn in at around 10:15 Friday morning following the resignation of former Speaker John Diehl.

He said he wants to get back to business and complete the work of the 98th General Assembly.

Richardson was elected to the House in 2010, and the lawmakers ABC 17 talked to Friday have said it’s gone as smoothly as it can after such an abrupt change at the top leadership.

The House session wrapped up at 6:00.

The Senate majority sounded fairly satisfied with the progress they have made this year.

Senate Democrats said they’re disappointed.

The Senate ended the day and a half of gridlock by passing a bill for a voluntary fee for hospitals that will help fund more than $3 billion of the Senate Medicaid program.

The Senate passed 116 bills, but the House had to agree upon some of those bills before 6:00.

Senate Republicans said municipal court reform and Senator David Pearce’s education bill that passed with bipartisan support were two of the highlights of the 2015 session.

Democrats have had a tough week with failing to stop Right to Work.

After the session ended Friday, the Democratic caucus said the session wasn’t about the bills they passed but they one they stopped.

“We did block the voter ID, we did block the reduction of unemployment, and we did block the employment discrimination bill. So, for our caucus, I think it’s not what we accomplished, it’s what we stopped,” said Rep. Joseph Keaveny.

Some Republicans said a big disappointment for them wasn’t getting a transportation bill passed; not even the entire caucus supported it.

The bill would have added a 1.5 cent tax to fuel.

The money would have gone to the financially strapped MoDOT.

The Senate wrapped around 6:00 with the prayer and ceremonial tossing of papers.

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