background_fid.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

New House Democratic Leader

Democrats in the Missouri House of Representatives have chosen a new leader. Rick Johnson of eastern Missouri will lead the democratic caucus when the legislative session begins in January. KSMU's Missy Shelton has this report on Johnson's expectations for the session. FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, THE STATE BUDGET AND THE STATE'S DECLINING REVENUES HAVE BECOME A FOCAL POINT FOR LAWMAKERS. RICK JOHNSON SAYS HE DOESN'T EXPECT THE NEXT SESSION TO BE ANY DIFFERENT.

WHEN REPUBLICANS TOOK CONTROL OF THE HOUSE IN 2002 BY WINNING A MAJORITY OF SEATS, DEMOCRATS FOUND THEMSELVES IN THE MINORITY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS.

NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR AND THE FIRST TIME DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN BACK THE HOUSE.

EVEN THOUGH A LOT WILL BE ON THE LINE POLITICALLY FOR BOTH PARTIES NEXT YEAR, JOHNSON SAYS HE WANTS TO SEE BI-PARTISAN COOPERATION.

UNLIKE LAST YEAR, DEMOCRATS MAY FIND SEVERAL REPUBLICANS IN THE HOUSE WILLING TO JOIN THEM IN THEIR SUPPORT OF TAX INCREASES. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE DR. ROY HOLAND OF SPRINGFIELD SAYS HE PLANS TO INTRODUCE A TAX PROPOSAL BECAUSE HE SAYS MORE BUDGET CUTS WILL HARM STATE PROGRAMS.

EVEN IF THERE'S SOME BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT FOR IDEAS LIKE THAT, THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF ISSUES THAT SPLIT REPRESENTATIVES STRAIGHT DOWN PARTY LINES.

LAST YEAR, REPUBLICANS PUSHED THROUGH THE HOUSE A BILL THAT WOULD LIMIT THE AWARDS IN LIABILITY LAWSUITS. THEY ARGUED IT WOULD HELP BRING DOWN MALPRACTICE INSURANCE RATES FOR DOCTORS. DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN VETOED THE BILL.

RICK JOHNSON SAYS REPUBLICANS HAVE POLITICAL REASONS FOR PUSHING THE LEGISLATION.

AND HOUSE DEMOCRATS' AGENDA FOR THE NEXT SESSION WILL FOCUS ON EDUCATION.

AGAIN, RICK JOHNSON.

RICK JOHNSON TAKES OVER AS THE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER AFTER MARK ABEL STEPPED DOWN TO FOCUS ON HIS CAMPAIGN FOR STATE TREASURER.

FOR A REPUBLICAN PERSPECTIVE ON THE UPCOMING SESSION, LOG ONTO K-S-M-U DOT ORG, CLICK ON CAPITOL NEWS. THERE, YOU'LL FIND AN INTERVIEW WITH SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEMP PETER KINDER THAT AIRED ON K-S-M-U LAST MONTH.

I'M MISSY SHELTON FOR KSMU NEWS.