John Diehl | St. Louis Public Radio

John Diehl

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The 2015 Missouri legislative session is underway, and here are some of the highlights of the day.

Nixon gets first say on start of session

The day began with the annual Governor's Prayer Breakfast, after which he answered questions from reporters on a few topics, including whether Medicaid expansion was already a lost cause for 2015.  Nixon, of course, said it wasn't at all.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

With more than 500 bills pre-filed so far, the Missouri General Assembly will be facing a variety of issues – from school transfers to ethics — when its 197 members return to Jefferson City this week.

But compared to recent legislative sessions, legislative leaders have so far sent few signals as to which bills will get serious consideration and which ones will simply serve as political wallpaper.

Breaking new ground is one of the trademarks of the Politically Speaking podcast, and this year was no exception. 

After three years of podcasts, Politically Speaking changed its format and put the spotlight on guests. In all, 48 episodes featured federal, state and local officials from across Missouri and Illinois – as well as a few folks who aren’t in office.

Missouri State Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Just after the sun set on Nov. 24 — the day that then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s fate would be disclosed to the world — Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon faced a throng of reporters at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Appearing before cameras that would simulcast his words across the globe, the Democratic governor talked  at length about how law enforcement officials were ready to respond to the grand jury’s decision. 

Attorney General Chris Koster said the fragmented nature of St. Louis may inhibit long-term growth -- and may make policy change stemming from the Ferguson unrest difficult.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In the limbo between Michael Brown’s death and the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the state of the Ferguson Police Department became something of a national obsession.  

House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country
Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team welcomes the man who may be the most powerful legislator in the Missouri Capitol for the next two years: House Speaker-elect John Diehl, R-Town and Country. 

On this, his third appearance on the show, Diehl once again was pithy and candid.

Diehl, 49, is a lawyer and graduate of DeSmet Jesuit High School. He has been in the state House since 2009.

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

via Flickr/Jeremy Brooks

Missouri state Rep. John Diehl, who is expected to be the next speaker of the state House, says he plans to push to get rid of Missouri’s state lottery.

Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, expects to sponsor a bill to get such a proposal on the 2016 statewide ballot.

Diehl calls the Missouri Lottery, in place since 1984, “a dishonest way to fund public education."

Still, he acknowledges that it's unclear whether Missouri voters will agree with him.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Roughly a dozen conservative activists are calling on Missouri legislators to select someone other than state Rep. John Diehl as the next House speaker, contending that he hasn’t been conservative enough.

Diehl, R-Town and Country, currently the House majority leader, was chosen by the House Republican caucus more than a year ago to be the next speaker. (That, of course, assumes he wins re-election in November, and Republicans remain in power.)

DO NOT USE too small
Mo. House of Representatives

Soon-to-be Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has donated $200,000 over the weekend to the state House Republican Campaign Committee -- in what appears to be a move to bolster his standing in party decision-making.

But Diehl’s dollars made up less than a quarter of the amount that the campaign committee collected on Saturday from  dozens of donors.  The tally, reported Monday to the Missouri Ethics Commission, amounted to at least $832,000 in large donations of more than $5,000 apiece.

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a class at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When it comes to a proposal to raise the state’s sales tax to pay for transportation projects, two of Missouri’s top Democratic officials appear to be on opposing sides of the fence.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill favors the proposal, which – if approved by voters in August – would enact a 10-year, 0.75 percent sales tax for transportation projects. And even though he’s sent signals that he opposes the proposal, Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding statements about the tax increase for now.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew this week returns to a “split show” format. On the first part of the show, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies discuss the expectations for the General Assembly’s home stretch.

  Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

Nanette Hegamin

In the final weeks of the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program and accept roughly $2 billion a year in federal money.

The governor, a Democrat, unveiled his “Missouri Health Works’’ program before business leaders Monday in Cape Girardeau. By coincidence or design, state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka and an opponent of Medicaid expansion, was also in Cape on Monday with conservative low-tax icon Grover Norquist to highlight a different issue.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:50 p.m. Mon., April 28)

After two weeks of vigorous lobbying, Republican leaders in the Missouri House acknowledge that they have yet to obtain the extra four votes needed to send to the state Senate a measure to put a "right-to-work" proposal on the August ballot.

“I’m not in the habit of bringing up votes unless the votes are secured,’’ said House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country, in an interview late last week.  

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, waves to the audience earlier this month at a bill signing ceremony for HB 1320.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon has signed legislation that would allow breastfeeding moms to be exempted from jury duty in Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Amid all the negotiations about veto overrides, Missouri’s huge bloc of House Republicans have yet another matter to decide at the same time: Who will be the next House speaker?

For several years now, the state GOP has been so confident about maintaining control of the Missouri House that the party’s legislators have taken to electing a “speaker-designate’’ more than a year ahead of the switch.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Beacon.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

On this week's show: Mo. House Majority Leader John Diehl joins us to discuss the vote count on the controversial income tax cut bill, as well as what veto session is shaping up to look like on a variety of other bills (Doe Run, the so-called gun nullification bill, and Agenda 21). We also discuss Diehl's race against fellow Republican Rep. Caleb Jones for the Speaker's gavel.

Missouri House Communications

A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday's deadline.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri lawmakers have sent a nearly $25 billion budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - A bill that would effectively nullify foreclosure mediation ordinances in St. Louis and St. Louis County is on its way to the Senate.

State Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, and House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town & Country, sponsored legislation to “pre-empt” foreclosure mediation programs in counties or cities. The House voted by a 130-24 margin on Thursday to send the measure to the Senate.

Missouri House leaders have announced "a compromise proposal" on the tax credit bill that's become stalled during the ongoing special legislative session.

In a press release issued today, State Representatives John Diehl (R, Town and Country) and Anne Zerr (R, St. Charles) said that they had worked with Governor Jay Nixon (D) on crafting an alternate proposal.  However, the press release contains no details on what's in it.  Zerr says she cannot disclose what's in the compromise because it's still being worked on.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

House and Senate negotiators have failed to reach an agreement on a congressional redistricting map before today’s self-imposed deadline.

Republican House leaders had wanted a compromise map ready to pass before Easter Weekend, in order to have time to override a potential veto from Democratic Governor Jay Nixon during the regular session.

Mo. Senate

The Missouri House has rejected the changes made to its redistricting map by the Senate, which on Wednesday took its own map and substituted it in the House bill before passing it.

The main sticking point appears to be how much of Jefferson County will fall into the rural southeastern Missouri congressional district.

Mo. House Communications

A State House committee’s plan to redraw Missouri’s congressional districts is drawing fire from both urban and rural residents and from both political parties.

The state is losing a seat in Congress based on the latest U.S. Census figures.

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