Missouri General Assembly

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

Crazy Fred ET / Wikipedia Commons and Jim Bowen / Flickr - CC

As the 115th U.S. Congress meets in Washington for the first time, new state legislatures will soon take the reins in Jefferson City and Topeka. Today, we look forward to possible political developments and legislation likely to arise in the Missouri and Kansas capitals.

Republicans lawmakers reacted to the 2015 protests on the Mizzou campus by creating a commission to review the entire university system’s operations and recommend changes. And if the UM System failed to implement those changes, lawmakers would respond by slashing the system’s budget.

Those recommendations were released today.

Capitol
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

The head of Eric Greitens’ transition team outlined the Missouri governor-elect’s legislative priorities for 2017 and new details on inaugural and transition activities during a conference call on Thursday.

Greitens will be sworn in at noon on Monday, January 9.

Austin Chambers, who will be a senior adviser in the new administration, says Greitens will focus his legislative efforts on laws related to jobs, ethics reform, public safety and education reform.

Patrick McKenna has begun his second year as director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, and he’s hoping for more understanding and results from Missouri lawmakers and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.

Many of last year’s proposals to find more money for transportation went nowhere, including a bill to raise the state’s fuel tax and a ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.  St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin sat down with McKenna to talk about why Missouri leaders and citizens can’t seem to agree on how to fund transportation.

Once perceived as all-powerful, Missouri’s two major political parties have been relegated to the balcony ever since the state got rid of campaign-donation limits in 2008.  That change allowed the bulk of the state’s political cash to flow directly to the candidates. 

The state Republican and Democratic parties found most of their income eliminated, and ended up being beholden to their top politicians for payments just to keep their offices open and staffed. 

But now, unless the courts rule otherwise, Missouri once again has campaign donation limits for some elective offices, courtesy of Amendment 2, which almost 70 percent of the state's voters approved last month. 

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Recent headlines detailing sexual harassment and discrimination at the Missouri Department of Corrections have caught the eye of State Auditor Nicole Galloway — namely because the state uses taxpayer dollars to settle those lawsuits.

Galloway’s office announced Friday it would be reviewing the state’s legal expense fund, which is the pool of money used to make those payments.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri are continuing their push for expanded gun rights by targeting businesses that operate as gun-free zones.

Legislation pre-filed in the Missouri House would allow people authorized to carry firearms to sue businesses that ban firearms on their properties if they're wounded in a robbery or assault while at that business. It's sponsored by Rep.-elect Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon.

Updated after Eric and Sheena Greitens' Tuesday press conference - Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is praising the quick work of law enforcement, and expressing sentiments of forgiveness, after Missouri's future First Lady was robbed at gunpoint on Monday night.

St. Louis police said in an emailed statement to St. Louis Public Radio that Sheena Greitens was sitting in her car near Cafe Ventana in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood. Her car door was suddenly opened by a suspect, who then pointed a gun at Sheena Greitens and demanded her property. She gave the suspect her laptop and cell phone.

Eric Hunsaker / Flickr-CC

Following a similar move in Jackson County, Missouri, earlier this year, Kansas City will establish a prescription drug monitoring program. 

Kansas City Council members Thursday passed an ordinance to establish a city-wide prescription drug database, a tool used to track patients who abuse painkillers and to prevent “doctor shopping” by individuals seeking prescriptions from multiple physicians.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Missouri, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) talks about the House Democratic platform and where she hopes to find common ground with the Republican majority during the upcoming session.

Guests:

Courtesy Missouri Hospital Association

Medicaid expansion probably wasn’t in the cards in Missouri before Tuesday’s elections. And now that the Missouri legislature is expected to lurch even further to the right, it appears to be dead on arrival.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, however, proponents of expanding Medicaid eligibility haven’t given up hope that health coverage can be extended to thousands of Missourians currently going without.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt may currently be Missouri's freshman senator but he has worked in the Capitol since 1997. Early in his career, he served as chief deputy whip for the GOP, eventually becoming House majority leader in 2005 and 2006.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the 17th District Senate seat discuss the issues, a lawsuit one filed against the other and their campaigns as we approach the final weeks of the 2016 election season.

Guests:

With Donald Trump urging supporters to watch for instances of voter fraud, we find out how the Jackson County Election Board ensures fair and free voting. Then, a 1938 Supreme Court ruling forced the University of Missouri Law School to accept black students, or create a separate school for them. The litigant, Lloyd Gaines, disappeared soon after, but his case made history.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the 17th District Senate seat discuss the issues, a lawsuit one filed against the other and their campaigns as we approach the final weeks of the 2016 election season.

Guests:

wp paarz / Creative Commons-Flickr

Frustrated by the Missouri Legislature’s failure to enact a statewide prescription drug plan, Jackson County this week joined St. Louis and St. Louis County in enacting its own plan, hoping it will cut down on painkiller abuse and addiction.

Missouri is the lone state in the nation without a prescription drug database, a tool used to track patients who abuse prescription painkillers and to prevent “doctor shopping” by individuals seeking prescriptions from multiple physicians.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the House and Senate discuss running for office, elections, and policy.

Guests:

We begin with a look at the many challenges media outlets face when, under increasing scrutiny from all sides, they are covering a presidential race unlike any other.

Updated 10/28 – Public accusations of sexual assault made by one Missouri House nominee against another are now the subject of a lawsuit.

Steve Roberts Jr., who won the Democratic primary for the House's 77th District seat, filed suit Thursday against Cora Faith Walker, who won the House 74th District Democratic primary.  Walker has accused Roberts of drugging and sexually assaulting her during a visit to his apartment in August to discuss political matters.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

Guests:

KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast is dividing into two separate podcasts — Statehouse Blend Kansas and Statehouse Blend Missouri — in order to better serve our audiences on both sides of the state line.

Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

Missouri has been crowing about how the state has kept down tuition increases for undergraduate, in-state students. In April, Gov. Jay Nixon came to UMKC to sign a budget that he said keeps college affordable in Missouri and "within reach for more families."

Turns out, college costs in Missouri are more expensive than advertised, according to a report released Tuesday by  Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs) talks about losing her primary, campaign contribution limits, and concealed carry legislation.

Guests:

  • Sheila Solon, (R-Blue Springs), Missouri House of Representatives
  • Eric Bunch, Policy Director and Co-Founder, BikeWalkKC

Why are so many teachers running for political office? We talk with local educators who want to be local legislators.

Guests:

Courtesy Nimrod Chapel Jr.

An attorney for the so-called “Medicaid 23” says his clients will appeal their convictions on trespassing charges, even though they face no jail time.

A Cole County, Missouri, jury on Wednesday acquitted 22 clergy members of obstructing government operations but found them guilty of trespassing when they refused to leave the Missouri Senate gallery during a protest in May 2014. The case of the 23rd defendant will be decided later.

It's a split decision in the trial of the so-called "Medicaid 23," a group of religious leaders who staged a protest in the Missouri Senate more than two years ago over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid.

Twenty-two members of the group were found guilty of trespassing for not leaving the Senate gallery when ordered to do so by Capitol police. But they were found not guilty of obstructing the operations of the Senate. The case of one other member will be decided later.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) talks about transportation funding, Right To Work legislation, and this year's gubernatorial election.

Guests:

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