Missouri General Assembly 2017 | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri General Assembly 2017

State Senator Rob Schaaf addresses Lt. Gov. Mike Parson on the last day day of the General Assembly's legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans had a lot to be optimistic about when the General Assembly convened in January. For the first time nearly a decade, the GOP held the reins of power in the executive and legislative branches — giving the party a prime chance to pass longstanding policy initiatives.

That optimism turned out to be warranted, especially when it came to overhauling the state’s labor and legal climate. But the process was anything but smooth. 

House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, May 2017
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum chats with House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick.

 

The Republican lawmaker from Shell Knob represents the 158th District, which takes in portions of Lawrence, Stone and Barry counties in southwest Missouri. State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, appeared on Politically Speaking last week to provide the Democratic perspective about the legislature’s waning days.

Deb Lavender, May 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Deb Lavender to the program.

 

The Kirkwood Democrat has served in the Missouri House since 2015, representing the 90th District, which takes in portions of Kirkwood and Glendale.

 

Lavender is a physical therapist who garnered a reputation for persistence, running for the House  in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and losing each time to then-incumbent Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.

Dean Plocher, April 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes state Rep. Dean Plocher to the program for the first time.

 

The Des Peres Republican was elected in late 2015 to fill former House Speaker John Diehl’s unexpired term. The 89th House District includes parts of Town & Country, Huntleigh, Des Peres and Country Life Acres.

 

 

 

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, of St. Joseph, sponsored the Senate drug monitoring bill.
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea, Missouri Senate Communications

Rob Schaaf rose Monday to speak on the Missouri Senate floor, capping what seemed to be a tough few days. One of his fellow GOP senators had highlighted how the 60-year-old from St. Joseph rented a room from a well-known lobbyist. And the nonprofit linked to Gov. Eric Greitens was making personal attacks on Schaaf’s political decision integrity — and giving out his cellphone number.

 

But Schaaf made it abundantly clear he wasn’t slinking away, issuing a blunt message to the Republican governor.

Gov. Eric Greitens signs legislation aimed at expanding Uber and Lyft throughout Missouri.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

It’ll be easier to use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft throughout Missouri, especially airports, under the bill signed Monday by Gov. Eric Greitens.

Travis Fitzwater, April 2017
Marshall Griffin 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 state Rep. Travis Fitzwater to the program for the first time.

 

The Holts Summit Republican represents the 49th House District, which covers parts of Callaway and Cole counties in central Missouri. Before running for office, Fitzwater worked for the Missouri Pharmacy Association, first as the marketing coordinator, and, later, chief operating officer.  

 

 

 

Gov. Eric Greitens signs into law a bill requiring stricter standards for expert witnesses in Missouri on March 28, 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:40 p.m. April 12 to correct headline — The latest bill to receive Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature is another priority for Republicans: tightening rules on who can be called as an expert witness.

He signed House Bill 153 into law Tuesday, a month and a half after he used his State of the State address to call Missouri and St. Louis in particular, a “judicial hellhole.”

Holly Rehder, March 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 are pleased to welcome Rep. Holly Rehder for the first time.

The Sikeston Republican is serving her third term in the Missouri House representing the 148th District in southeast Missouri, including parts of Scott and Mississippi counties.

Gov. Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena, brought their two children to a polling place before the November general election. Greitens signed an executive order extending paid parental leave for some state employees.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issuing an executive order extending parental leave to some state employees, the question naturally arises: What’s next?

While important to the thousands of state employees it affects, the Republican governor’s executive order is not comprehensive. It provides paid time off for people who give birth or adopt a child, but only applies to “executive” state agencies run by gubernatorial appointees. It doesn’t affect or every state employee — or private sector workers .

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers wrapped up the first half of the 2017 legislative session having achieved the session's top priority: making Missouri a right-to-work state.

Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, signed Senate Bill 19 into law last month. It bars labor unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues and fees as a condition for employment.

Rep. Jean Evans
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jenny Simeone welcome state Rep. Jean Evans to the program.

The Manchester Republican is serving her first term in the Missouri House. She represents the 99th state House District, which takes in Manchester, Valley Park and Twin Oaks.

Sen. Ryan Silvey in February 2017
Marshall Griffin 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 state Sen. Ryan Silvey back to the program.

Alderman Donna Baringer D-16th Ward (center) receives a resolution from her colleagues on Dec. 16, 2016, her last day at the Board of Aldermen.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes state Rep. Donna Baringer to the program.

Baringer was recently elected to a Missouri House seat that takes in most of southwest St. Louis. She spent nearly 14 years as the alderman for the 16th Ward, which coincidentally is the place where Rosenbaum calls home.

A committee hearing on right to work brought proponents and opponents flocking to the Capitol.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

When it comes to “right to work,” there’s widespread disagreement about the policy’s potential effects on Missouri’s economy. But there’s no question that Missouri’s unions are about to experience seismic change.

Right to work is a form of shorthand that proponents use to describe laws that bar employers and unions from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. Missouri lawmakers are expected to pass right to work legislation shortly, which Gov. Eric Greitens plans to sign.

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not since Matt Blunt was governor of Missouri nearly a decade ago did the Republican Party control both the executive branch and both houses of the legislature. Even then, there were enough Democrats in both the House and Senate to block any veto override attempts, rare as they were then.

That will differ once Eric Greitens takes the oath of office and has the benefit of veto-proof GOP majorities in both chambers.

Quadrangle at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
(Flickr Creative Commons User Adam Procter)

Republicans lawmakers reacted to the 2015 protests on the Mizzou campus by creating a commission to review the entire university system’s operations and recommend changes. And if the UM System failed to implement those changes, lawmakers would respond by slashing the system’s budget.

Those recommendations were released today.

A marching band in Missouri's 2012 inaugural parade in Jefferson City.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is showing right off the bat that he’s eager to break with tradition. He’s nixing the traditional inaugural parade – featuring high school bands and convertibles – that in the past has snaked through Jefferson City before the swearing-in ceremony, set for Jan. 9 at noon.

Instead, a spokesman told reporters Thursday that Greitens plans to review a formation of National Guard troops on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Jeff Belmonte | Cuiabá, Brazil | Creative Commons, Wikipedia

The age in which teenagers can receive a marriage license would increase to 17 under legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House.

Currently, teens as young as 15 can get married in Missouri with at least one parent's permission.

Fred Wessels Dec 2016
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 are pleased to welcome state Rep.-elect Fred Wessels to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat — a former alderman and city official — was elected this fall to represent the 81st House District, which takes in most of southeast St. Louis. He defeated two other Democrats, Steve Butz and Adam Kustra, in August, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.

KB35 | Flickr

With a new Missouri governor ready to take over, lawmakers are trying once again to solve an old problem: how students in unaccredited school districts can get the education they deserve.

Since the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the transfer law in 2013, students in unaccredited districts have had the right to enroll in nearby accredited districts, at the cost of millions of dollars to their home districts that had to pay tuition and in some cases transportation as well.

Mike Parson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Of all the new statewide officeholders elected this year, only one comes from rural Missouri

Mike Parson has represented eight counties in west and central Missouri in the Senate for the past six years, and prior to that served in the House for six years. For 12 years, he was sheriff of Polk County, and he currently owns a cattle operation near Bolivar.

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens hugs Rev. Ken McKoy, a pastor with Progressive Zion A.M.E. Church. Greitens walked with McKoy as part of NightLIFE, a group that seeks to curb violence in north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The bone-chilling streets of north St. Louis were largely empty last Friday night. An icy mist brought both automobile and foot traffic on Kingshighway to a halt, with the exception of a few cars and trucks – and a governor-elect.

On pavement that at times resembled an ice skating rink, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens walked methodically through the sidewalks and on the streets with a medium-sized scrum. The Republican chief executive-to-be was out with NightLIFE, a group seeking to curb violence in Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

State Rep. Kip Kendrick
Nathan Lawrence | KBIA | File photo

Democrats in the Missouri House are calling on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to keep his campaign promise to clean up Jefferson City.

They've pre-filed several bills that range from banning gifts from lobbyists to giving the state ethics commission the authority to prosecute violations. Democrat Kip Kendrick of Columbia said they want to see if the incoming Republican governor is serious about ethics reform.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Sen. Brian Munzlinger.

Munzlinger is a Republican from Williamstown, an unincorporated community in Lewis County in northeast Missouri. He represents a mammoth district that includes Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Ralls, and Randolph counties.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, was one of the biggest proponents of using the previous question to pass "right to work."
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will become a right-to-work state. The chief question is how soon the General Assembly will put a version of the anti-union measure on the desk of soon-to-be Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other unknown is what particular form of “right to work’’ Missouri’s new law will take.

Under "right to work," unions and employers cannot require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. Although some versions of right to work say a worker cannot be required to join a union, federal law has barred such a requirement for a long time.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's budget for the current fiscal year is being cut again.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Wednesday that he's withholding $51 million from the FY2017 budget, which runs through June 30 of next year. The vast bulk of the temporary cut is coming out of Medicaid.

The Missouri House during veto session
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

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