2013 Legislative Session Begins
The Missouri General Assembly began their 97th Regular Session this week. Republicans picked up additional seats in both the House and Senate giving them one of the largest majorities since the mid 1800s.
In the Senate, 17 members were sworn in including 12 new members as follows: Senator Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis (D-1); Senator Gary Romine, R-Farmington (D-3); Senator Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis (D-5); Senator Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City (D-7); Senator Paul LeVota, D-Independence (D-11); Senator Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors (D-13); Senator Ryan Silvey (D-17); Senator Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff (D-25); Senator Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau (D-27); Senator David Sater, R-Cassville (D-29); Senator Ed Emery, R-Lamar (D-31); and Senator Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville (D-33).
Senator Tom Dempsey's (President Pro Tem) outlined his legislative agenda dubbed "BIG solutions" in his opening speech. B stands for "Build our Infrastructure," I stands for "Invest in Education," and G stands for "Grow our Economy”. While details are yet to come, the agenda focuses on reducing income tax rates, seeking funding for infrastructure improvements, and a renewed commitment to education.
Of the 56 incoming freshman on the House side, 50 are first-term legislators and six have previously served in either the House or Senate.
On the House side Representative Tim Jones (Speaker) outlined his agenda. “Triple E” focuses on the issues of Economic Development, Energy Policy and Education Reform.
On the issue of Economic Development, Jones called on members to “Cut, Cap and Create” the state’s tax credit programs; improve Missouri’s legal environment to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits; and consider a bond issuance proposal that would provide funding for road and other infrastructure improvements throughout the state.
On the issue of Energy, Jones asked members to “work to ensure Missouri embraces responsible energy policies that will encourage affordable energy prices and technological development.” He asked members to continue efforts to develop the small modular nuclear reactor industry in Missouri, and to ensure Missouri’s regulatory framework does not impede Missourians from using existing energy sources or pursuing new developments using natural resources like coal and natural gas.
In terms of Education Reform, members were asked to work together to create a strong, effective system of education that will ensure prosperity for future generations of Missourians. He said the legislature must protect education funding from continued encroachment by welfare expansion funding demands; provide school districts with the tools to ensure that effective teaching, not bureaucracy, is the number one priority; and give local districts and parents more influence over their curriculum and policies.
Committee assignments were also finalized in both the House and Senate Thursday afternoon. Both chambers have already scheduled hearings for next week. In terms of the budget, Senate Appropriations will hold its first hearing on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. to hear from those wishing to testify on matters dealing with the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education; Department of Higher Education; Department of Mental Health; Department Health & Senior Services; and Department of Social Services. They will meet again on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to cover the Department of Transportation; Department of Revenue; Office of Administration; Department of Agriculture; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Conservation; Department of Economic Development; Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; Department of Labor & Industrial Relations; Department of Public Safety; Department of Corrections; Judiciary; and Public Defender.
The 2013 Legislative Session runs from Wednesday, January 9 to Friday, May 17. The Missouri House is currently made up of 161 members with two vacancies. Republicans control 109 of the 163 House seats, while Democrats control 52. The Senate split is 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
Lastly, Governor Nixon will deliver his annual State of the State on January 28 at 7:00 p.m., at which time he will outline his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Among the key items to be considered this year, which has the
potential to impact many other key budget items, is Medicaid expansion. The proposal would add approximately 267,000 adults into the program and could draw down over $1 billion a year in federal funding.
Attached you will find a current Bill Summary and Status Report as well as a new listing for the House and Senate members. These listings are for your reference should you need to contact individual House or Senate members.