John Diehl

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has banned all committee hearings and legislative meetings held at country clubs and restaurants, effective immediately.

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.

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, 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.

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.)

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