If you are wondering what Missouri will look like, politically, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, here is a quick overview: our state’s two U.S. Senate seats will be occupied by one Democrat and one Republican, and our eight U.S. Congressional seats will be held by six Republicans and two Democrats, while the six statewide offices will be held by four Democrats and two Republicans. Gov. Jay Nixon was re-elected to his second term, and Democrats will occupy the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the State Treasurer offices, though Republicans will retain the Lt. Governor and State Auditor offices.
Missouri’s 97th General Assembly will be controlled by Republicans.
Of the 163 House seats, Republicans hold 110 of them, a historical high for Republicans. The remaining 53 House seats are held by Democrats. The 34 Missouri Senate seats will be occupied by 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats, meaning that Republicans will hold a two-thirds majority of both chambers, giving them a veto-proof majority.
A Missouri political analyst, in describing the election results, commented: “After the dust has all settled, basically Missouri has stayed the same.”
There will be an effort by all of Missouri’s legislators to work together in a bi-partisan way to accomplish good things for our state. Some important issues that we will be looking at this session include job creation, economic recovery, education reform, and energy advancements and technology.
Over the past decade, Missouri has seen an increase in the number of ballot petition initiatives placed before voters. We know it is important for our state’s voters to be knowledgeable on measures with which they are faced. It is my personal opinion that in the recent election cycle, most Missourians did understand the four ballot measures with which they were asked to decide. The following is a brief recap of those four measures and their results:
Constitutional Amendment Three failed. If this amendment had passed, it would have given the Missouri governor more power to pick members of the commission, who then in turn choose justices for the Missouri Supreme Court and judges for the Courts of Appeals. No doubt, discussions will continue on the Missouri Plan for selecting justices and judges.
Proposition A passed. This initiative returned control of the St. Louis Police Department to the city of St. Louis after 150 years of being under state control.
Proposition B failed. This would have raised taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products in Missouri and made the taxes more in line with those of neighboring states. Various groups will continue their discussions in efforts of finding new revenue sources to help fund education and health programs.
Proposition E passed, as Missouri’s citizens once again spoke out against ObamaCare and the mandated Healthcare Insurance Exchange. This is twice that Missourians have rejected aspects of ObamaCare.
Page 2 of 2 - The 97th General Assembly will begin session on Jan. 9, 2013, and will obviously have much to do in dealing with and drafting legislation for pertinent state concerns. It is certain that the upcoming session will have its share of challenges.
Two important pieces of legislation that were passed last session by Missouri’s 97th General Assembly and are now in effect are Senate Bill 470 and House Bill 1549. In SB 470 a provision was made for a veteran’s designation to be placed on the driver’s license or identification card of veterans. Signed into law by Gov. Nixon, it became effective on Aug. 28, 2012. This designation enables a veteran to have quick proof that he or she is a veteran when requesting certain business discounts or other benefits provided specifically to veterans. There is no additional cost for this designation.
HB 1549 allows Missourians to add their cell phone to the state’s No-Call list. Currently, there are 1.8 million Missouri landlines registered on the No-Call list. Now this law allows for cell phones to be added to the list, while providing bans on unwanted texts and multi-media messages. If anyone wants to add his or her landline or cell phone to the No-Call list, go to www. ago.mo.gov/nocalllaw or call 866-BUZZOFF (866-289-9633 or 866-662-2551).
The Missouri No-Call list is regulated by the Attorney General’s Office that compiles the lists quarterly and then sends them to telemarketers every quarter. The time that one’s request is made during the quarter determines when his or her name will be removed from the telemarketer’s phone bank. For example, anything submitted from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012 will take effect in January of 2013. Sometimes it seems as if response is slow in removing a person’s number from the list, but one needs to remember the quarterly movement of the process. There is no cost to get on the list.
If I can be of help to you with these or any other state matter, please do not hesitate to contact me by one of the following means:
Mail: Bill Reiboldt, Office 235-BB, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101. Telephone: (573) 751-9781. Personal cell phone: 417-456-0441. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. My website is www.billreiboldt.com
Find me on Facebook at facebook.com/morepbill or follow me on Twitter @MORepBill.
Bill Reiboldt represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Missouri House of Representatives.