St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.
On today's episode: Ed Martin becomes the Missouri GOP's new chairman. How did it happen? Also, an update on the jockeying for Missouri's 8th Congressional seat. And then we close it out with a look toward the Missouri legislature.
Reporting from Amanda Vinicky from Illinois Public Radio.
A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins today, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office. The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden.
Tuesday night, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to reduce Illinois' $97 billion pension debt, though there were a few last minute tries.
A panel appointed by the Missouri House to study the state’s transportation needs released its final report today, one day before the start of the 2013 legislative session.
It states that Missouri needs an additional $600 million to $1 billion a year – for several years – to maintain roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. The report lays out several options for meeting that gap, but doesn’t recommend any specific funding methods. Retired Democratic State Senator Bill McKenna co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee on Missouri's Transportation Needs. He says some of the options won’t appeal to the Republican majority.
In a narrow victory on Saturday, Ed Martin edged out incumbent David Cole to become the new Missouri GOP Chairman.
Many speculate David Cole was ousted because of the GOP's poor performance in statewide races, where the party lost five out of the six races, in spite of Republican Mitt Romney carrying the state by over 10 points. But it's worth noting that Martin chaired the Missouri GOP's Victory 2012 Campaign, which resulted in only one victory for the party.
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said repeatedly his top priority is dealing with the state’s pensions - the worst- funded in the country. He’s held countless press conferences and made the argument that pension costs take away money for other state programs.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross says proposals to deal with the pension funds have been around for two years.
"We’ve talked about these to a point where we don’t need to talk any more," said Cross. "We’ve got to do this."