The following is a legislative update from Clarkston Nelson, LLC concerning the Missouri General Assembly’s spring legislative session. It is not for republication in your newspaper, although the information contained within could inspire local coverage for issues important to your readers.
A reminder, Missouri Press Association’s Day at the Capitol is Thursday, Jan. 25. You can register to attend here: https://mopress.wufoo.com/forms/mqk9r5s0v5fd4f/
Missouri General Assembly in Session
The House and Senate convened Wednesday afternoon for the start of the 2nd Regular Session of the 102nd General Assembly. Typically, the first day of session is filled with optimism and comradery however, both chambers got off to a rocky start. The Missouri Senate picked up where it had left off when they adjourned last May, with intra-caucus and intra-chamber disagreements.
Senate Pro Tem Caleb Rowden started the day by urging Senate members not to follow in the dysfunctional footsteps of previous years. In response, the small coalition of Freedom Caucus members dedicated more than an hour opening day to vent frustrations with the chamber’s leadership and highlighted the failed advances of party priorities such as taxes, education reform, and gun rights. Meanwhile, in the House chamber, House Speaker Dean Plocher dedicated time urging House members to “put statesmanship and the welfare of the people before playing politics and personal interest.”
2024 is an election year, there are five state executive offices up for election in Missouri: Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Attorney General; Secretary of State; and Treasurer. With this being several elected officials last term, there are currently fifteen state representatives facing off in the August primary for Senate seats and five current senators vying for statewide office. Further, on Thursday, US District 3 Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) announced his plans to retire at the end of his term this year.
Complicating matters even further, medical provider taxes that are vital to sustaining the state’s Medicaid program expire this year. As you recall, the last time the taxes needed to be renewed, the issue derailed the Senate and required a special legislative session during the summer of 2021.
Some additional hot topics being considered by the Legislature this year include reexamining the state reassessment process and property tax reform; improve public safety; police officer recruitment and retention; initiative petition and election reform; limiting foreign ownership of Missouri farmland; expanding school choice options in the state and creating a Parent’s Bill of Rights; and authorizing sports betting.
December tax receipts are about the same total from one year ago, up only .61%. That still puts the fiscal year-to-date number for general revenue collection at a negative -1.68%. A big drop in general revenue could put a damper on tax cut talks, or any new spending plans that will be unveiled in Governor Mike Parson’s January 24 State of the State address.
On Thursday, the Department of Conservation announced Director Sarah Parker Pauley will retire on July 1 after a 30-year career in public service that began as a policy coordinator at MDC and ended as the first female director of the agency when she took the position in November 2016. The Conservation Commission will launch an executive search in February to recruit MDC’s next director to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of leadership before Pauley’s retirement July 1.
EXECUTIVE ORDER LIMITS LAND PURCHASES NEAR MILITARY FACILITIES
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson issued Executive Order 24-01, banning persons and businesses from nations designated as foreign adversaries from purchasing agricultural land within a 10-mile radius of critical military facilities in Missouri.
Parson said, “With heightened concerns regarding ownership of Missouri farmland by foreign adversaries, especially China, we are signing this order to safeguard our military and intelligence assets, prevent security threats to our state, and give Missourians greater piece of mind.” Nations currently classified as foreign adversaries include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
For the purposes of this order, “critical military facilities” refers to all staffed military facilities in Missouri. The order does not affect existing landowners. The Governor said there are about 300 military facilities in the state, but not all of them will be covered by the order.
The Executive Order creates stringent requirements for agricultural land purchases and requires approval from the Missouri Department of Agriculture before any foreign acquisitions of agricultural land. The requirements will help inform the Department of Agriculture prior to any foreign entity acquiring agricultural land in the state. Parson said $200,000 and two full-time employees are being budgeted in the coming year for the Department to develop rules and implement the order.
The Governor said various statewide agricultural organizations of Missouri had been contacted for input regarding the Executive Order.
During the press conference, Parson made clear that his order does not impact Missouri’s valued economic partnerships with foreign allies, including Israel, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, among many others that have a long-standing presence in Missouri and employ thousands of Missourians. In the last five years alone, foreign investment in Missouri has totaled nearly $19 billion and directly supported close to 150,000 Missouri jobs, he said.
At the press conference in the State Capitol building, Parson was joined by Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, and Missouri National Guard Adjutant General Levon Cumpton.
CONGRESSMAN BLAINE LUETKEMEYER TO RETIRE IN DECEMBER
U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-3rd District) announced Thursday he is not seeking re-election in 2024 and will retire at the end of his term in December. He said his decision was made “after a lot of thoughtful discussion with my family.” He and his wife, Jackie, have three children and seven grandchildren.
Congressman Luetkemeyer is a native of St. Elizabeth where his family has lived for six generations. From 1999 to 2005, he served in the Missouri House of Representatives. After leaving the office, he served as the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. He has served in Congress since 2009. His career includes a strong background in agriculture, banking and insurance.
In the 118th Congress, the Congressman serves on the House Financial Services Committee as chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions, on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, and on the House Small Business Committee.
TYLER HOBBS NAMED AS GOVERNOR’S LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR
On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson named Tyler Hobbs as the legislative director for the Governor’s Office. Hobbs replaces Alex Tuttle, who left the office as legislative budget director on Dec. 22. Tuttle joined the office in July 2021 and has stepped away to pursue other opportunities.
Hobbs has served as deputy policy and legislative director as well as senior policy analyst since joining the Governor’s Office in August 2022. Previously he had served as legislative director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety and as the director of strategic initiatives for the Missouri Republican Party during the 2020 election cycle. He is a graduate of Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in political science. He also is a combat veteran of the U.S. Army, serving 12 years as a civil affairs sergeant and participating in overseas missions.
HEGEMAN, SLAY APPOINTED TO HIGHWAYS COMMISSION
Former State Senator Dan Hegeman and former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay were appointed by Governor Mike Parson to the State Highways and Transportation Commission on Tuesday.
Hegeman, of St. Joseph, served in the State Senate and the House of Representatives, representing districts in northwest Missouri. He currently serves as senior community business manager at Evergy and co-owner of Hegeman Farm, Inc. He is chairman of the St. Joseph Metropolitan Planning Organization and is a board member and former chairman of Second Harvest Community Food Bank. He holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Slay, of St. Louis, currently serves as executive director for the St. Louis Regional Crime Commission. He is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. He previously served as Mayor of the City of St. Louis for 16 years and was the first mayor to be elected to a fourth four-year term in office. He holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Quincy University and a Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law.
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GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENTS WILL BE VETTED IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
On Wednesday, January 3rd, the first day of session, the Missouri Senate received messages from the Governor that included numerous gubernatorial appointments that have been made over the interim from the closing of the 2023 legislative session. This list is rather extensive and includes numerous boards, commissions, and key Governor cabinet posts. Our office will be tracking the Senate confirmation process in the months ahead and keep you updated on any upcoming hearing, votes or activities of interest.
Some current appointments now before the Senate for confirmation include:
- Carole Iles for the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission
- Robert Knodell for Director of the Department of Social Services
- Paula Nickelson for Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services
- Dan Hegemann and Francis Slay for the State Highways and Transportation Commission
- Ray Wagner for Missouri Conservation Commission
- Jonas Arjes, Jessica Craig, and Brent Buerck for the Missouri Development Finance Board
- Mick Campbell for Commissioner of the Division of Finance
- Kayla Hahn for Missouri Public Service Commission
- Kevin Spaulding for Missouri Gaming Commission
- Michael Leara for State Supervisor of Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
- John Hemeyer and Lance Mayfield for Missouri State Lottery Commission
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HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERSHIP REFRESHER
President Pro Tem – Senator Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia)
Majority Floor Leader – Senator Cindy O’Laughlin (R-Shelbina)
Assistant Majority Floor Leader – Senator Jason Bean (R-Pemiscot)
Majority Caucus Whip – Senator Karla Eslinger (R-Wasola)
Majority Caucus Chairman – Senator Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville)
Majority Caucus Secretary – Senator Sandy Crawford (R-Buffalo)
Minority Floor Leader – Senator John Rizzo (D-Kansas City)
Assistant Minority Floor Leader – Senator Doug Beck (D-St. Louis)
Minority Caucus Chairwoman – Senator Angela Mosley (D-Florissant)
Minority Caucus Whip – Senator Steven Roberts (D-St. Louis)
Speaker of the House – Representative Dean Plocher (R-St. Louis)
Speaker Pro Tem – Representative Mike Henderson (R-Bonne Terre)
Floor Leader – Representative Jon Patterson (R-Lee’s Summit)
Assistant Floor Leader – Representative Jamie Burger (R-Scott)
Caucus Chair – Representative Chris Dinkins (R-Lesterville)
Majority Whip – Representative Hardy Billington (R-Poplar Bluff)
Majority Secretary – Representative Ann Kelley (R-Lamar)
Minority Floor Leader – Representative Crystal Quade (D-Springfield)
Assistant Minority Floor Leader – Representative Richard Brown (D-Kansas City)
Minority Caucus Whip – Representative Ashley Aune (D-Kansas City)
Minority Caucus Chair – Representative Ingrid Burnett (D-Kansas City)
Minority Caucus Vice-Chair – Representative Emily Weber (D-Kansas City)
Minority Caucus Secretary – Representative Gretchen Bangert (D-Florissant)
Minority Caucus Policy Chair – Representative Jamie Johnson (D-Kansas City)
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KEY UPCOMING DATES
- January 15, 2024 – MLK Day – No Session
- January 24, 2024- State of the State Address
- January 24 & 25, 2024 – MPA Board Meeting and Day at the Capitol
- February 19, 2024 – President’s Day – IN SESSION
- March 1, 2024 – Last day of bill filing
- March 18-22, 2024 – Legislative Spring Break
- April 1, 2024 – Easter Break – No Session
- April 2, 2024 – General Municipal Elections
- May 10, 2024 – Last Day to Constitutionally pass the FY 2025 Budget
- May 17, 2024 – Last Day of the 2024 Legislative session
- August 6, 2024 – Missouri Primary Elections
- September 11, 2024 – Veto Session
- November 5, 2024 – Missouri General Elections