In Jefferson City, Crime, Taxes Top Legislative Agenda

By Kim Bell Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Terry Ganey and Virginia Young, both of the Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau, contributed information . | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 4, 1995 | Go to article overview

In Jefferson City, Crime, Taxes Top Legislative Agenda


Kim Bell Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Terry Ganey and Virginia Young, both of the Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau, contributed information ., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Lawmakers from both parties say getting tougher on young criminals, reforming health care and giving voters control over most major tax increases will be the priorities for the 4 1/2-month legislative session that begins today.

Even before the first committee meets, stacks of bills ranging from the serious to lighthearted wait on the legislators' desks. Some address how the state should raise taxes and how politicians should raise campaign contributions. Others would make the mule the state's official animal or designate square dancing as the folk dance of Missouri.

More than 130 bills and resolutions had been filed by legislators in the House by Tuesday, and just as many in the Senate. The cutoff for the introduction of bills isn't until March. Between now and then, about 400 Senate bills and 800 House bills will be introduced.

Bills this year have been prompted by everything from the hazing death of a college student to the secret videotaping of women in tanning booths.

The effort to enact legislation will take place in a changed political environment, one that features a stronger GOP - although Missouri Democrats managed to fend off the Republican takeover that took place in Washington and various state capitals in November.

The 163 representatives and 34 senators are scheduled to gather at noon today for the start of the session, which will adjourn May 12.

Democrats control the House and Senate. They hold a 19-15 majority in the Senate and an 87-76 majority in the House. Democrats are down eight in the House from the last session, and one in the Senate.

Although he may be under federal investigation, House Speaker Bob Griffin, D-Cameron, is expected to be elected to an unprecedented eighth term as the leader of the House. But the support for Griffin, a 25-year House veteran, won't be so overwhelming as in the past with the narrowing of the Democratic margin.

A federal grand jury in Kansas City has subpoenaed Griffin's campaign records.

One of Griffin's backers, Majority Leader Bob Ward, D-Bonne Terre, will be absent - he is recovering from a stroke.h Circuit Judge Michael David will swear in Ward today in his room at Jewish Hospital. The new assistant majority leader, Rep. Wayne Crump, D-Potosi, will handle Ward's duties for now.

An early test of Griffin's strength will come within a week when the House votes on its rules. …

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