Missouri Legislature

Missouri lawmakers are back in Jefferson City as they prepare to kick off the 2016 legislative session at noon today.

In addition to passing the state budget, they're expected to tackle several other issues, including ethics reform and Gov. Jay Nixon's push to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams.

Ron Richard is about to spend his first full session as president pro-tem of the Missouri Senate.

He was elected to the post by his colleagues in September after Tom Dempsey resigned a year ahead of time, and shepherded the upper chamber through veto session. The Republican from Joplin also served as House Speaker from 2009 to 2010, and is the only elected official in Missouri history to lead both chambers.

Richard sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about what he hopes to accomplish, and about getting started as president pro-tem:

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Who should have the power over the Missouri budget? The legislature, which writes the budget? Or the governor who is constitutionally required to balance it?

The men running to represent northeast Missouri in Congress will have to be ready for some serious windshield time if elected.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he wants to make it easier for the youngest students in his state to get off to a good start in their educational carrers.

2012 has been a pretty good year for transportation improvements in northeast Missouri.  A special panel is working to make sure that can continue.

One northeast Missouri school district will have a little more money to spend during the upcoming school year.

The Clark County R-1 School Board has signed off on the district’s $9.1-million budget. 

Superintendent Ritchie Kracht says the spending plan is balanced… with revenues slightly exceeding expenses.

He says annexing the Revere C-3 School District into Clark County has meant a $200,000 boost in assessed valuation as well as additional state aid.

State Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-Lewis County) says the 2012 legislative session was average in nature. 

In fact, he initially thought the session would yield little as lawmakers could divisive stands on a variety of issues.

Sen. Munzlinger says the focus of the session was the state’s roughly $24-billion budget.  He says it relies on gaming and lottery revenue to fund education and veterans’ issues.

Sen. Munzlinger says income projections are on the rise, so he hopes the budget will be solid.  He says that is needed to turn Missouri’s economy around.