Election update and leadership positions
By Trent Watson, AIM Lobbyist
The Republicans in the Missouri House increased their majority by eight seats, seven seats won by election and one seat by a Democrat member switching parties. This brings the House totals to 118 Republicans to 45 Democrats, a super-majority for the Republicans. In the Missouri Senate, Republicans maintained their majority of 25 Republicans to 9 Democrats.
Incoming Speaker-Elect John Diehl hinted at a press conference on Wednesday that House Republicans might use their newly passed Amendment 10 authority as early as January. Diehl was referring to the amendment passed by voters Tuesday that allows the state legislature to vote to override a governor’s decision to withhold money in the budget in the same way it does a veto. Nixon is still restricting more than $503-million in General Revenue, and Diehl says lawmakers might try to release some of that.
This week Missouri House Republicans gained one more seat in the state legislature, with the switching of parties by Democrat Representative Linda Black of Desloge. Her decision gives the Republicans 118 members in the State House.
John Watson, Governor Jay Nixon’s long-time Chief of Staff announced Wednesday that he would be stepping down from that position. Watson will remain with the Governor as a “Senior Advisor”. Senior Legal Counsel for Nixon, Chris Pieper, will replace Watson.
The first initiative petition for the 2016 November Election was submitted this week to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office. The topic: proposed constitutional amendment would make it legal to produce, sell and use marijuana in Missouri for people age 21 and older.
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones had accumulated about $1 million for a campaign for statewide office in 2016, but the term-limited Republican lawmaker announced Thursday that he won’t be running for office two years from now. Jones said he decided not to run for office because he wants to spend more time with his wife and two daughters and didn’t want to force Republicans into a potentially costly and divisive primary for a down-ballot office, such as attorney general or lieutenant governor. Jones has accepted a fellowship at the Hampton Institute at Lindenwood University and has hinted that he will engage in other private sector work.
Governor Jay Nixon has released more than $5.6 million in withheld funds. Nixon withheld the money in June to balance the state’s budget and decided to release it on Wednesday.
The Governor released $5,675,330 for the following:
$2 million for Missouri’s A+ Scholarship program
$1 million for Access Missouri Scholarships
$1 million to support high-tech startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation
$500,000 for Missouri’s multi-jurisdictional Drug Task Forces
$451,554 for the Missouri Rx Program
$723,776 for Public library grants for the state’s smallest libraries
President Pro Tem, Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles)
Majority Floor Leader, Ron Richard (R-Newton)
Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Mike Kehoe (R-Cole)
Majority Whip, Brian Munzlinger (R-Lewis)
Majority Caucus Chair, Eric Schmitt (R-St. Louis)
Majority Caucus Secretary, Jay Wasson (R-Christian)
Minority Floor Leader, Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis)
Assistant Minority Floor Leader, Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis)
Minority Caucus Chair, Kiki Curls (D-Jackson)
Minority Caucus Whip, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis)
Speaker of the House, John Diehl (R-St. Louis)
Speaker Pro Tem, Denny Hoskins (R-Johnson)
Majority Floor Leader, Todd Richardson (R-Butler)
Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Mike Cierpiot (R-Jackson)
Majority Whip, Delus Johnson (R-Buchannan)
Majority Caucus Chair, Shelley Keeney (R-Bollinger)
Majority Caucus Secretary, Mike Bernskoetter (R-Cole)
Minority Floor Leader, Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis)
Assistant Minority Floor Leader, Gail McCann Beatty (D-Jackson)
Minority Whip, John Rizzo (D-Jackson)
Minority Caucus Chair, Gina Mitten (D-St. Louis)
Minority Caucus Vice-Chair John Carpenter (D-Clay)
Minority Caucus Secretary, Karla May (D-St. Louis)
Dates of Interest
December 1, 2014 – Pre-filing of legislation for 2015 legislative session
January 7, 2015 – 2015 Session begins