2020 Missouri General Assembly | St. Louis Public Radio

2020 Missouri General Assembly

State Rep. Kevin Windham, Jr., speaks during a February 2020 committee hearing.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Kevin Windham Jr. is the latest guest on "Politically Speaking." The Hillsdale Democrat talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about how the Missouri Legislature expanded absentee balloting this session — and the prospects for policy change amid protests for police accountability.

Windham represents the 85th District, which takes in roughly 20 municipalities in central and north St. Louis County. When he won his seat in 2018 at age 25, he became the youngest African American man ever elected to the Missouri House.

Lawmakers throw paper in the air on May 15, 2020, to celebrate the end of the 2020 Missouri legislative session.
Jaclyn Driscoll I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers capped an unprecedented 2020 legislative session by expanding access to absentee ballots during a pandemic and passing a wide-ranging crime bill — even as other priorities failed to get final approval.

And while the session featured some major budget moves aimed at combating the coronavirus, lawmakers from both parties expressed frustration about missed opportunities — and how the legislative process unfolded.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield
Tim Bommel I House Communications

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The Springfield Democrat joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll to provide her impressions of how the Missouri General Assembly is faring after it was idle for weeks due to the coronavirus.

Quade represents a House district that takes in part of Springfield. As the leader of the House Democrats, Quade is largely responsible for crafting her party’s message and strategy in the Missouri House.

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 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.

Senate Press availability with Dave Schatz, Caleb Rowden, John Rizzo on Thurs. March, 12, 2020.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation creating a statewide prescription drug monitoring program cleared its last major hurdle on Thursday — passing the Missouri Senate 21-10.

The measure has passed in the House for years, but a strong filibuster in the Senate has allowed some of the conservative members to kill the proposal due to privacy concerns. A monitoring program is designed to prevent abuse, especially of opioids. 

Missouri Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh speaks to reporters on the last day of the legislative session in Jefferson City on Friday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Senate Democrats are going through a leadership change.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh announced on Tuesday that she would step aside as her caucus’ leader. The Bellefontaine Neighbors Democrat had served in that leadership post since 2017. Sen. John Rizzo, D-Independence, will replace Walsh as minority leader.

State Sen. Brian Williams, D-University City
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Brian Williams is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The University City Democrat joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum to talk about his priorities for the 2020 session — and what to expect when the General Assembly hits the home stretch.

Williams represents Missouri’s 14th Senate District, which takes in a slew of municipalities in central and northern St. Louis County. That includes places like University City, Ferguson, Normandy, Bridgeton and Hazelwood.

Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Sen. Dan Hegeman returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jason Rosenbaum about Missouri’s finances and his proposal to change state legislative redistricting.

The Cosby Republican represents Missouri’s 12th Senate District, which takes in a huge swath of northwest Missouri. It's the largest Senate district in the state.

State Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

State Rep. Cody Smith is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The Carthage Republican spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue about his role as House Budget chairman — and his thoughts on overhauling Missouri’s criminal justice system.

Smith was first elected to the Missouri House in 2016 in a district encompassing parts of Jasper County in southwest Missouri. He became Budget chairman after his predecessor, Scott Fitzpatrick, was appointed as state treasurer.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr and House Republicans speak to news reporters following the first day of the Missouri Legislative Session in Jefferson City. (Jan. 8, 2020)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri General Assembly’s 2020 legislative session began with procedure and ceremony: lawmakers reading the Bill of Rights, new legislators being sworn in and hundreds of bills being formally introduced.

But even though Wednesday’s opening was fairly mundane, legislators from both parties are expecting fierce debates in the coming weeks over state legislative redistricting and gun violence — issues that could play a big role in the impending 2020 elections.

Missouri House of Representatives members speak on the house floor on the last day of the legislative session.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue, Jaclyn Driscoll and Jason Rosenbaum look at what lies ahead for Missouri legislators in 2020.

Lawmakers are returning Wednesday to Jefferson City, where they’ll spend more than five months piecing together Missouri’s budget and dealing with a host of contentious issues.

State Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Jim Murphy is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The south St. Louis County Republican joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Julie O’Donoghue to talk about what to expect in the 2020 legislative session.

Murphy represents Missouri’s 94th House District, which includes places like Mehlville and Green Park. It is one of the most competitive House seats in the state, as it famously flipped between Democrat Vicki Englund and Republican Cloria Brown for roughly a decade.