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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Missouri House Speaker Haahr On The Legislature Returning Amid The Coronavirus

House Speaker Elijah Haahr, right, hands some papers to House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo earlier this month in Jefferson City.
Tim Bommel I House Communications
House Speaker Elijah Haahr, right, hands some papers to House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo earlier this month in Jefferson City.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The Springfield Republican spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll about why the General Assembly is coming back into session on Monday — and what issues lawmakers plan to discuss.

Haahr, a Springfield Republican, became Missouri House speaker in 2019 after serving two years as House speaker pro tem. Term limits will bar Haahr from running again for his House seat.

Here’s what Haahr talked about on the show:

  • The Legislature has been out of session since the COVID-19 outbreak began, with the exception of passing a massive spending bill to fight the coronavirus. Haahr explained that the Legislature was coming back because of a constitutional obligation to pass a budget.
  • What precautions are being taken to make sure that lawmakers and staff don’t contract the coronavirus.
  • Whether lawmakers would take up a proposal specifying that voters can apply for an absentee ballot for any reason during a pandemic or emergency. That’s an idea that some local election officials are pushing the Legislature to pass.
  • If the pandemic would prompt lawmakers to consider changing the constitution to allow for either the House or Senate to meet remotely.

An attorney, Haahr was first elected to his post in 2012. He quickly rose up the ranks, eventually being selected to chair the House Emerging Issues Committee and being elected as House speaker pro tem.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jaclyn Driscoll on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

Follow Elijah Haahr on Twitter: @elijahhaahr

Music: "Keep Me In Your Heart" by Warren Zevon

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