Missouri House of Representatives

Many districts in St. Louis and St. Louis County are drawn to be heavily Democratic or Republican. Thus, when a seat opens up, the August primary can be most competitive election for eight years.

The victors in these “primary-are-the-election” races will face different realities in Jefferson City, depending on their political parties. Republicans could get a chance to handle big-ticket legislation and move up in leadership. Since they’re a super-minority, Democratic winners will have fewer opportunities to influence the legislative process. But often times, they can provide a counterpoint to the GOP supermajority.

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. Margo McNeil to the show for the first time.

The Florissant Democrat was first elected to the Missouri House in 2008. She’s finishing her last few months in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, as she is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

It's fair to say that Deb Lavender is quite persistent.

The Kirkwood Democrat ran unsuccessfully for a state House three times before finally winning election in 2014. None of the races were easy: She had to knock on a lot of doors, raise a lot of money and lose to former Rep. Rick Stream three times before reaching the legislative promised land.

The 2016 Missouri legislative session is officially closed. What happened? What didn’t happen? What might change during the September veto session? On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed it all.

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. Justin Alferman to the show for the first time.

The Hermann Republican is serving his first term in the Missouri House. His heavily-GOP seat includes parts of Franklin, Gasconade and Osage counties, and it takes in most of Washington, Mo.

A GOP state representative from Ballwin has resigned suddenly for unspecified personal reasons.

It’s the latest reverberation for a legislature still reeling from scandals that led to two resignations last session.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A smaller Missouri House could be coming your way in seven years, if a proposed constitutional amendment makes it onto next year's ballot.

Two identical ballot initiatives would each shrink the size of the Missouri House from 163 seats down to 123.

File photo

Moving on fast parallel tracks, with the assistance from Gov. Jay Nixon’s office that has absent in the past, the Missouri House and Senate have advanced legislation designed to change provisions of the state’s student transfer law.

Rep. Keith English of Florissant left the Democratic Party on Tuesday and announced he will serve as an independent.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, has left the Missouri Democratic Party and is becoming an independent. He says the decision stemmed from his personal beliefs, which “do not seem welcome among current party leadership."

But some of English’s colleagues say his defection has more to do with comments he made about Michael Brown’s shooting death.

English said in a press release that the Democrats are no longer the party “of Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy.” He says he’s “leaving the party because the party left me.”

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When it comes to the Missouri House and next Tuesday’s election, leaders in both major parties agree that the stakes are low.

There’s little doubt that Republicans will maintain historically huge majorities in the General Assembly’s lower chamber. They may even pick up another seat or two. Democrats, meanwhile, see their best hope in making a few gains of their own.

Still, House Republican Campaign Committee executive director Scott Dieckhaus admits a bit of uncertainty.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon has called special elections for three vacant seats in the Missouri House. 

Nixon scheduled elections on Aug. 5 for the 67th, 120th and 151st House districts. The north St. Louis County-based 67th District became vacant after state Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant, resigned after he was charged with campaign finance-related violations.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In what could be seen as a Republican rural-urban dust-up, state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California, has announced this morning that he will be run for state House speaker when the election is held in a few months to choose a new Republican leader for 2015.

Jones is the cousin of current Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

The Republican supermajority in the Missouri House inched up this week with the election of Republican Mike Moon of Lawrence County to the vacant House District 157 seat from southwestern Missouri.  Moon defeated Democrat and former House Member Charlie "Doc" Dake in what Republican Speaker Tim Jones described as a hotly-contested race.

Missouri Secretary of State  Jason Kander is urging House Speaker Tim Jones to take up early voting initiatives.

Kander wrote a letter today in response to an interview Jones gave earlier this month in which Jones questioned the importance of early voting.

Kander asked Jones to assign a Republican early voting bill to a committee, saying the issue has had bipartisan support over the years.

A Republican-led Missouri Senate committee has defeated a plan to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the legislation on a party-line vote Wednesday, just minutes after hearing testimony from more than two dozen witnesses in favor of the plan.

A Republican-led House committee defeated a similar bill last month in the same fashion.

The Missouri House of Representatives is considering a bill which would mandate registered sex offenders to vote at their local country clerk’s office, instead of at schools.

The House Elections Committee held a hearing on the proposed legislation today. Rep. Tim Remole (R), is sponsoring the legislation and says that it will protect the voting rights of registered offenders, while also protecting children in schools that are designated as polling places.

Enforcing new federal gun regulations could send Missouri officers to prison under a bill endorsed by a Missouri House committee.

The committee voted 9-5 on Tuesday to advance the bill that would criminalize the enforcement of federal gun control laws enacted after Jan. 1 of this year. The vote was along party lines with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats in opposition.

The panel also advanced a bill barring federal regulation of guns that are manufactured in Missouri and remain inside the state's borders.

Medicaid expansion is dead for now in the Missouri House.

First, the House subcommittee that oversees the budgets for the Departments of Health, Mental Health and Social Services voted to approve those agencies budgets without including Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) call to expand Medicaid to an additional 259,000 Missourians next yearState Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) chairs that subcommittee.

“We can’t afford it…it’s not rocket science," Allen said.  "If we expand, taking federal dollars now, which I do not believe would not use some state (general revenue), even with what we’re told the feds would do now, there will be a time (when) the feds will back off.”

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) addressed the Missouri House today during a visit to the State Capitol.

He told House members that state and local governments should play a bigger role in solving problems than the federal government.

“Everyone of you should fight everybody in Washington when it’s clear to you that Washington’s trying to take some responsibility from this Capitol that you can do better than people can do in Washington," Blunt said.

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a pair of bills that would institute photo ID requirements for voters.

Legislation that would revive three benevolent tax credits that died last year has been passed by the Missouri House.

A measure outlined in the Missouri House on Tuesday could give first-time offenders for marijuana possession the opportunity of community service, instead of jail time.

After completing the sentence, the bill would also allow for the convictions to be removed from the offender’s record.

Representative Rory Ellinger, a criminal defense lawyer from St. Louis, hopes that the bill will help youth offenders to get jobs by not having to disclose the conviction to employers.

Missouri House members are proposing a statewide bond issue they say could launch a building boom across the Show-Me State.

House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has created a special committee to examine several bonding proposals that could fund new buildings, repairs and upgrades on state property and college campuses.  The effort is bipartisan, as the Republican speaker has appointed Democrat Chris Kelly of Columbia to chair the committee.  Kelly says the proposal can be done without raising taxes, unless transportation needs are included.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has been touring the state this week, promoting the so-called three “E’s” that House Republicans say they’ll focus on next year – the economy, energy, and education – but their agenda still likely won't include a fourth “E," expansion of Medicaid.

Jones told a group of reporters in Jefferson City today that House budget writers start off every year looking for $150-$200 million for the state’s Medicaid needs.

People and groups who work with Medicaid clients urged Missouri lawmakers today to expand coverage in next year’s state budget.

Cynthia Keele from NAMI Missouri (National Alliance on Mental Illness) told a State House budget subcommittee that expanding Medicaid would help families dealing with medical debt.

“Missouri medical debt is responsible for about 40 percent of the bankruptcies in Missouri, and I know that because I’m a banker’s wife," Keele said.  "Those bankruptcies and medical debt kill jobs.”

Members of the Missouri Senate have begun pre-filing bills for the 2013 regular session.

House Democrats say they’ll again try to get campaign contribution limits restored in Missouri when next year’s regular legislative session begins.

The Missouri Supreme Court reinstated caps on campaign contributions in 2007, but a 2008 law removed them again.  Jake Hummel of St. Louis takes over next year as the top Democrat in the Missouri House.  He says they’ll push for an ethics bill similar to one in 2010 that had support in both parties.

Sheriffs from around Missouri want state lawmakers to tighten the requirements needed to become a county’s sheriff.

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan (R) told a State House committee today that the only current requirements for potential candidates are that they are “breathing,” and can pay the $50 filing fee.  He wants lawmakers to craft legislation that would require sheriff’s candidates to have prior law enforcement experience.

A St. Louis County lawmaker wants more cooperation from the Nixon Administration as her committee looks into the way contracts for license fee offices are awarded.

State Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) chairs the House Interim Committee on Government Bidding and Contracting.  She says the legislative liaison sent by the Department of Revenue (DOR) to her committee hearing this week was unable to answer her questions.

“We started asking questions, and he could not answer," Allen said.  "He came with a prepared statement…he couldn’t, or didn’t, go any further than that.”

Missouri House members have chosen Tim Jones (R, Eureka) as their speaker for the next few months.

Jones had served as the chamber's majority leader for the past two years. His selection Wednesday fills the vacancy created when former Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) resigned from the House in August to work as a paid consultant.  House members will decide in January whether to keep Jones for two more years as Speaker, assuming that he is re-elected in November and the GOP holds onto the Missouri House as expected.  Jones said Wednesday he wants to encourage job creation by streamlining government, offering tax relief and paring back government regulations. He also wants to focus on energy independence and education policy.

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