The 97th General Assembly of the Missouri Legislature began this past week on January 9. Things kicked off with much pomp and ceremony as outgoing Secretary of State Robin Carnahan gave a very inspirational speech on just why one might be compelled to seek elected office. She stated things that, as an elected official, one should take time to remember every day, that they work for the people.
The day began with the swearing in of Speaker of the House Tim Jones(R-Eureka), back for his second term in the top spot in the House. He also gave a stirring speech, thanking friends and family who have supported his political career.
Republicans enjoy a super majority in both the House and the Senate, which also allows them veto-proof majority as well. This means that they have a two-thirds majority which could override any veto put forth by Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
According to the Jefferson City News Tribune, Jones says he plans to focus on such things as economic development, energy, and education, and plans to meet with Governor Nixon in the near future. Jones says his hope that the veto-proof majority will lead to candid discussions with the Governor during the legislative process.
Over on the Senate side, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey(R-St. Charles), appears to be on the same page as his House counterparts. In his address on Wednesday, he also emphasized the importance of focusing on economic growth for the state, as well as education, and energy development to keep the Show-Me State at the crossroads of the nation as a transportation hub of goods and services.
Some of the other legislation on the agenda for the House includes HB45, which prohibits using cell phones while driving unless they are equipped with a hands free device, and HB146, which would require sex offenders to disclose their status when purchasing real estate to both the buyer and seller agents.
Newly introduced legislation in the Missouri Senate includes some timely issues, such as establishing photo ID requirements for voting, and a repeal of all prevailing wage laws, which will surely get the attention of Right To Work proponents, as that debate is gearing up across the state.
Some local Legislators committee assignments include: Sen. Scott Rupp(R-Wentzville), Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and Joe Keaveny(D-St. Louis) on the Judiciary Committee. Over in the House, Michael Butler(D-79 District) and Ron Hicks(R-107 District) on the Education Committee, and Sharon Pace(D-74 District) on the Health Care Policy Committee.
It is sure to be a busy and lively session in Jefferson City this year.