Missouri General Assembly

Richardson meets the press on Thursday after being tabbed to be the next speaker of the Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

New Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson has assembled what he calls “a working group" of legislators and House staff to come up with changes in the chamber’s student intern program.

The six legislators on the panel – two Democrats and four Republicans – include state Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves. Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, are seeking the changes as a result of a scandal this spring that prompted then-House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, to resign over sexual text messages he was exchanging with a college-age intern.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, wait out the final hours of the Missouri Senate's session. Both men were strong proponents of "right to work" legislation, which is opposed strongly by labor unions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Clockwise from upper left, Sen. Ron Richard, R, Joplin; Reps. Jake Hummel and Karla May, newly elected Speaker Todd Richardson at microphone, Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a “classic edition” of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin take stock of one of the strangest ends to a Missouri General Assembly session in recent memory.

Wikipedia

On Monday, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh led a discussion about what was and was not accomplished during the Missouri legislative session.

Marsh talked to St. Louis Public Radio reporters and Terry Jones, Founders’ Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The St. Louis Public Radio reporters included Jo Mannies, Marshall Griffin and Jason Rosenbaum.

State Sen. Scott Sifton angrily speaks on Wednesday. The Affton Democrat was a key figure in grinding business of the Senate to a halt after Republicans stopped a filibuster of right to work.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The final week of the Missouri General Assembly's session is usually pretty hectic — but not for the reasons that occurred last week.

Even the traditional paper toss was unusual this year as several representatives did not participate. 5.15.15
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Only one major piece of legislation passed the Missouri General Assembly during its final day of the 2015 session, capping a surreal and strange week that saw the House speaker resign and the Senate paralyzed.

After days of delay, both chambers found time Friday to swiftly approve a must-pass bill necessary for the state to accept its annual $3.5 billion in federal money to pay for the existing Medicaid program and related health care expenses.

Protesters disrupt opening day of Missouri legislature 2015
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio / politics

In a year that is more likely to be remembered for text messages and parliamentary maneuvers than legislative accomplishments, some bills were passed. Going in, the leadership (Republican) was determined to pass the state's budget bills early so that the governor (a Democrat) couldn't veto measures and then use the summer to campaign on issues raised in the fiscal plan.

St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly is heading into its final week with an unusually short to-do list.

That’s because a number of issues, including a new state budget, were approved early. 

When legislators return Monday, Republican leaders had first planned to tackle the budget-item vetoes that Gov. Jay Nixon issued Friday afternoon. But the governor only vetoed one item, because of a technical error that's unlikely to generate an override. Instead, legislators will try to fix the problem.

This week, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the  Politically Speaking podcast have decided to look into their crystal balls to discuss what’s ahead for Missouri politics in 2015.  

It’s a time of transition for both the Missouri General Assembly and St. Louis County government. The legislature comes back into session on Wednesday with some new members, and an even stronger Republican majority, while a new county executive has taken over in the state’s largest county.

On the show, we talked about:

James Cridland via Flickr

Legal questions surrounding Michael Brown’s death and events in Ferguson again dominated the conversation among our legal roundtable.

Justice Department Investigations

The Justice Department has three roles in Ferguson, said William Freivogel, director of the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. First: A criminal investigation, independent of the state’s investigation.

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