100th General Assembly Convenes for 2020 Legislative Session
House members returned to the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 8 for the start of the 2020 legislative session. This is the second regular session of the historic 100th General Assembly. The beginning of the 2020 session also marked the start of the legislative careers for six new House members who were elected during November 2019 special elections. The new members were officially sworn in by House Speaker Elijah Haahr. With their addition, the House now has 114 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and one vacancy.
After the traditional opening day ceremonies, members made their way to the House Lounge to meet with the press about their upcoming priorities for the year. When asked by the media if he preferred to avoid tough issues and keep the session at a dull roar, Speaker Haahr responded by saying, “I prefer the loudest roar we can have.”
Haahr said the legislature would look at policies to help address the violent crime problem in the state’s largest cities. He noted that the police force and investigatory unit in St. Louis are overwhelmed, and said legislation that would enhance the protection of witnesses could find support this session. “We stand at the ready to try to do what we can as a state to help the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City as they deal with this,” Haahr said.
Haahr also said the House would not be supportive of an increase in the gas tax, but would consider a Wayfair fix that would level the playing field for Missouri businesses. Missouri is currently one of only two states with a general sales tax that does not tax remote sales. A Wayfair fix would allow the state to collect taxes from out-of-state retailers.
During the press conference, the Speaker also said the legislature is ready to craft a fiscally responsible state budget. He said lawmakers are ready to budget judiciously in preparation for possible expenses that could put additional strain on the state spending plan. Lawmakers will again make education funding a top priority as they prepare the state operating budget.
Understanding the Governor’s Decision on Refugee Resettlement
“Our administration is thankful for President Trump’s leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with the President and his administration to ensure the responsible resettlement of lawfully admitted and vetted individuals,” said Parson.
President Trump signed the executive order in September of 2019 to facilitate coordination and consultation between the federal, state, and local governments concerning the resettlement of refugees in the United States. The refugees involved must go through proper federal channels and will be appropriately screened and vetted to ensure they are not a threat before being placed in communities.
The governor’s office projects an increase of approximately 500 individuals who will settle in Missouri. These individuals will be placed in communities that have specifically applied to receive them. Gov. Parson said the state will continue to work hard to ensure lawfully admitted and fully vetted refugees become a thriving part within the State of Missouri in the communities that request them, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.