GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENES 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The 97th Missouri General Assembly convened on Jan. 9 with the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives pledging to reduce taxes even as state revenue collections are beginning to rebound after a decade of significant budget cuts that has left higher education spending at roughly the same level as a decade ago, put state funding for local school districts well below the amount called for by state law and left countless other unmet needs throughout the state.
Meanwhile, minority Democrats said the top priority of the 2013 legislative session will be to create an estimated 24,000 new jobs, and save $250 million in state general revenue over three years, by taking advantage of a federal law that rewards states for expanding Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Republicans lost two seats in the Senate but picked up four in the House to come out of the November 2012 general elections to outnumber Democrats 24-10 and 110-53, respectively, and give the GOP veto-proof two-thirds majorities in both chambers. Due to post-election resignations by one Democrat and one Republican, however, the House began with an opening day roster of 109-52, dropping Republicans to bare minimum needed to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on a straight party-line vote. The governor must call special elections to fill the vacant seats.
The legislative session will end at 6 p.m. on May 17. The constitutional deadline for the legislature to grant final passage to the state budget for the 2014 fiscal year is May 10.
NIXON APPOINTS TWO LAWYERS TO BOARD OF CURATORS
Gov. Jay Nixon on Jan. 4 appointed attorneys John Phillips of Kansas City and Michael Ponder of Cape Girardeau, both Democrats to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators, the governing authority for the four-campus University of Missouri System. The appointments will be subject to Senate confirmation.
Phillips, a 1971 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, is an attorney with Husch Blackwell and has been a longtime civic leader in Kansas City. Ponder has served on the Missouri State Board of Education since 2009 and is a partner with Girardeau law firm of Cook, Barkett, Ponder and Wolz. He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1990.
NIXON APPOINTS EX SENATOR AND KINDER AIDE TO PSC
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, on Jan. 9 appointed Bill Kenney, the chief of staff to Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, to the Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned utilities in the state. The appointment will be subject to confirmation by the state Senate, where Kenney served from 1995 to 2003, including a stint as majority leader.
Kenney, of Lee’s Summit, was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1996, an election he lost to incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson. Prior to getting involved in politics, Kenney was the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1980 to 1988.
GOVERNOR TO GIVE 2013 STATE OF THE STATE ON JAN. 28
Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address before a joint session of the Missouri General Assembly on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. During the address, which will be Nixon’s fifth State of the State, the governor will outline his agenda for the 2013 legislative session and present his budget recommendations for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
STATE REVENUE UP 7.9 PERCENT IN FIRST HALF OF FY 2013
Net state general revenue collections for the first half of the 2013 increased by 7.9 percent compared to FY 2012, going from $3.49 billion last year to $3.77 billion this year. Net collections for December 2012 increased by 10.7 percent compared to those for December 2011, going from $652.8 million to $722.9 million.
Category: Weekly Capitol Update