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.
Most Missourians support Medicaid expansion and believe the state government has a responsibility to ensure access to affordable health care, according to a new survey by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
What's particularly noteworthy about this survey is that a majority of the responders agreed this is a responsibility that must be met, even if it means raising taxes. 55 percent of responders say Missouri's state government must act to do so, while 34 percent say we can't afford it.
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.
The bill re-ignited intense debate over women’s reproductive rights. State Rep. Margo McNeil (D, Hazelwood) argued that allowing health professionals to opt out of performing certain procedures could result in a public health threat.
But the likelihood that the House will also override the Governor’s veto is virtually nonexistent, according to Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka). He says they just don’t have the votes, even within their own party.
“We would have to first convince our caucus," Jones said. "And even if we did, we’re still simply three votes short on a bill that no Democrat, I believe, has supported to this point…that’s a tough vote.”
Legislation that would move the candidate filing period for the August primary back by one month is now moving through the Missouri House.
On Monday it passed the House Elections Committee and it next goes to the Rules Committee. However, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) seems to favor an alternate approach: Having a two-week filing period that would begin sometime in mid-March and end on March 27th as currently scheduled.
The bill would change the definition by making discrimination a motivating factor in any action taken by an employer against an employee, instead of a contributing factor as established by court rulings in recent years. House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) argued that the current standard is killing small businesses in Missouri.