Gary Romine | St. Louis Public Radio

Gary Romine

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The search has begun for Missouri’s next education commissioner, even though there currently aren’t enough board members to vote on hiring Margie Vandeven’s successor.

Ten people applied for the job by Monday’s deadline. But Board of Education President Charlie Shields said they can’t even review their applications until there are at least five voting members on the State Board.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, gives his opening day address on January 3, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly is back in session. And while the House is slated to have an early focus on overhauling ethics laws, the Senate is planning to take a hard look at some of Gov. Eric Greitens’ appointees.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, is pushing his chamber to pass a bill banning gifts from lobbyists before the end of the month. Last year at this time the House sent a similar bill to the Senate, where it died without a vote.

Republican state Reps. Jay Barnes, center, and Justin Alferman, right, converse with Alex Curchin, left, during the last day of the Missouri General Assembly's 2017 legislative session.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Heightened tensions between Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly will likely add drama when the 2018 legislative session begins next Wednesday.

Because 2018 is an election year, it’s long been assumed that lawmakers will avoid divisive topics that could upset voters. But that might not be possible this time.

Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, December 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Sen. Gary Romine to the program for the first time.

The Farmington Republican represents the 3rd Senatorial District, which takes in parts of Jefferson, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Iron, Reynolds and Washington counties. He was re-elected in November to his traditionally competitive seat without Democratic opposition.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House and Senate traded a few bills Wednesday, including an amended one that would bring more specificity to a state ban on so-called "sanctuary cities." But nothing was sent to Gov. Eric Greitens all day.

Here’s a deeper look at what happened in the Capitol:

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

It seemed like a done deal: The Missouri House would send the governor a bill Thursday that would make it harder to prove discrimination when a person is fired. But Republican leaders called off the vote — for varying reasons.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A scheduled meeting between Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) and Republican legislative leaders over Medicaid reform is now in jeopardy because of a disagreement over the meeting's location and format.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate interim committee examining the state's Medicaid system voted this afternoon to adopt a draft report that recommends using managed care companies to provide health coverage to more of Missouri's working poor.

The report also deliberately excludes recommendations to expand Medicaid.  State Senator and committee chair Gary Romine (R, Farmington) maintained that Medicaid must be reformed first.