Dean Plocher | St. Louis Public Radio

Dean Plocher

Washington University outgoing Chancellor Mark Wrighton (right) will lead an effort to implement Better Together's recommendations for a St. Louis city-county merger. He spoke at a press conference Jan. 28, 2019 at the Cheshire hotel.
File photo I Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

When proponents of a city-county merger rolled out their long-awaited proposal in January, they thought they had everything in place for success.

They had more than five years of research, key political support and potential money from key donors like Rex Sinquefield to promote the plan to a statewide audience.

But things changed dramatically on Monday when the effort’s leader, Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton, acknowledged there would be no statewide bid to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County. It was a culmination of a frenetic period that saw the arrival of a multiracial, bipartisan opposition coalition to the merger — and immense criticism of some of the plan’s components.

State Rep. Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, sponsored a constitutional amendment that would allow a legislator to serve up to 12 years in the House and Senate. It would have also established term limits for all statewide officials.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment requiring local approval for a city-county merger.

Whether that plan makes it to voters is an open question, especially since Rep. Dean Plocher’s measure needs to get past a potential Senate filibuster.

As the GOP-controlled Legislature seeks to undo a new state legislative redistricting system, some are pointing to the plan’s potential negative impact on majority-black House and Senate districts.

While those arguments aren’t prompting African American Democrats to vote to get rid of what’s known as Clean Missouri, that doesn’t mean black political leaders are universally embracing the new system. Some believe the language in the new redistricting process won’t prevent a scenario where the percentage of black residents in House and Senate districts get reduced — making it easier for white candidates to win.

The Missouri House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to advance a joint resolution that would have voters decide whether to make changes to the redistricting process outlined by Amendment 1, otherwise known as Clean Missouri. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment last November.

Members of the senate walk onto the floor of the House chambers ahead of this year's State of the State address.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. on Thursday to detail Senate action on nonbinding merger resolution.

In a Capitol building often defined by division, state Rep. Peter Merideth believes Better Together’s city-county merger proposal is unifying the disparate St. Louis delegation.

But the St. Louis Democrat said it’s not the kind of unity that proponents probably wanted or expected.

“One thing that we’ve seen in this building is a remarkable amount of regional and bipartisan unity in the idea that this is the wrong way to go about a merger in St. Louis,” Merideth said. “I think the thing that we all agree on is that it should not be happening with a statewide vote that doesn’t allow any real, true local control over our own fate.”

Rep. Dean Plocher
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Rep. Dean Plocher is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where the Des Peres Republican primarily talked about a potential merger between St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Plocher represents the 89th House District, which includes parts of Town & Country, Huntleigh, Des Peres and Country Life Acres. Plocher, an attorney by trade, is the chairman of the influential House General Laws Committee.

House Republicans talk during the last day of the legislative session. May 17, 2017
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Meinkoth vividly remembers how term limits were sold to Missourians in 1992: By limiting lawmakers to eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate, proponents contended the General Assembly would become more responsive — and consistently get new members with fresh ideas.

More than 25 years after voters approved the constitutional amendment, Meinkoth wanted to know if those promises were kept. He asked Curious Louis: “It's been 25 years since term limits went into effect for state legislators. Has there been a study to determine the effect of these limits?”

Dean Plocher, April 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes state Rep. Dean Plocher to the program for the first time.

 

The Des Peres Republican was elected in late 2015 to fill former House Speaker John Diehl’s unexpired term. The 89th House District includes parts of Town & Country, Huntleigh, Des Peres and Country Life Acres.

 

 

 

Republican GOP - RIGHT WIDTH - also avail. gopelephantleft
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Republican leaders in St. Louis County’s 89th state House District needed only one ballot to choose lawyer Dean Plocher overwhelmingly as their nominee to replace former House Speaker John Diehl. 

Diehl, R-Town and Country, resigned in disgrace last May because of his sexually explicit text messages with a college-age intern.

Plocher handily defeated two other contenders — former state Rep. Cole McNary and lawyer Tom Nations — in balloting Tuesday night at the Town and Country City Hall.