Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.
While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.
The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.
The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.
Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to rewrite the state's criminal code for the first time in more than 30 years. The wide-ranging proposal took several years and two legislative sessions to hammer out, but it's unclear whether Nixon intends to sign it.
With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved.
That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes — or dies — in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, legislation dealing with tax cuts, the state’s criminal code and the student transfer situation are all still up in the air.
The resolution of some conflicts could hinge on unity from Republicans, who control the legislature, while others may fall along less predictable fault lines.
Gov. Jay Nixon says he's wary about signing a wholesale revision of the state’s criminal code.
For the past few years, the state’s legal community has made overhauling the code a major priority. The legislation being considered by the Missouri General Assembly reassesses punishments for certain crimes, including eliminating jail time for some misdemeanors.
The second half of Missouri's 2014 regular session is underway. Leaders in both chambers and from both parties remain focused on crafting a state budget and on easing the burden of the state's student transfer law — but they remain divided on expanding Medicaid.
State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.