Missouri Legislature

Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson has been sworn in to a full term in office. 

During the Bicentennial Inauguration Monday morning in Jefferson City, Parson said he will continue "to work hard each day for all Missourians."

Parson said he is "humbled and honored" by the trust his supporters have placed in him to lead the state.

MO Lawmaker Chooses Rally At U.S. Capitol Over His Own Inauguration

Jan 8, 2021
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Republican Missouri lawmaker skipped his own inauguration to attend a rally with President Donald Trump and encourage Congress to reject the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden. State 

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are heading back to the Capitol for the start of what's guaranteed to be an unusual session amid the coronavirus pandemic. The roughly five-month annual legislative session begins Wednesday. Some precautions will be in place to avoid spreading COVID-19. House and Senate administrative staff must wear face masks, for example. Lawmakers are strongly encouraged to wear masks, but it's not required. The Capitol is still open to the public. Visitors will have their temperatures taken and be questioned about possible infection.

After a quick holiday break, Missouri lawmakers will head back to Jefferson City for the beginning of the 2021 legislative session on Wednesday.

The coronavirus upended the session in 2020, and despite tens of thousands of Missourians already receiving the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’ll still be a dominating factor this year.

The coronavirus pandemic exposed Missouri’s complex absentee balloting system.

Before 2020, voters needed to check off a specific excuse to vote earlier. But on the final day of this year’s General Assembly regular session, lawmakers expanded how Missourians could cast an absentee ballot in a manner that many found confusing and unintuitive.

With that absentee ballot expansion set to go away at the end of the year, some election officials and lawmakers want to keep things simple on how to permanently change how Missourians vote early.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican attorney general has brought the state into an effort by GOP officials across the nation to reverse President Donald Trump’s election loss.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Wednesday that Missouri has joined more than15 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case filed by Trump ally and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton attacking election procedures in the battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services plans to send 340,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to essential health workers by the end of this month, Director Randall Williams said Friday afternoon.

The federal government’s Operation Warp Speed likely will ship the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to the health department in the next few weeks, Williams said.

The doses will be enough to immunize nearly 60% of health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, whom the state has identified as the highest priority to vaccinate.

One of the many storylines of this past presidential election was the time states had to process absentee ballots.

Thanks to the Pennsylvania legislature not allowing election officials to prepare those ballots before 7 a.m. on Election Day, it took a number of days before America knew that President-elect Joe Biden won the state.

That didn’t happen in Missouri.

Missouri voters approved expanding Medicaid by about 7 percentage points in August, and now it’s up to the Legislature to put a program in place during its 2021 session, which begins next month.

But, the Republican-dominated Legislature vocally opposed expanding the public health option for low-income Missourians, and lawmakers are expected to introduce measures to limit who can access coverage in an effort to keep costs lower.

Hospitals across Missouri will soon receive help from a Texas-based company the state is hiring to provide additional workers and hospital beds.

Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday that the state has hired Vizient to provide temporary workers and additional beds for hospitals in Missouri overrun with coronavirus patients. He said Vizient will provide up to 760 temporary workers across the state.

“When fully deployed, this will add nearly 600 total beds to our statewide bed capacity, including some critical care beds,” Parson said.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. Dec. 2, with additional comments from legislators

The Missouri Senate passed a nearly $1.3 billion supplemental spending bill Wednesday that gives the state access to federal coronavirus relief funds.

The legislation, which passed the House last month, now heads to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. He’s expected to sign it before the deadline to use the funds at the end of the year.

The Missouri Senate is postponing its portion of the special legislative session related to COVID-19 liability and federal funding because of positive coronavirus cases in the chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, tweeted on Monday that the decision is “in the best interest of protecting members, staff, and the public.”

Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said that on top of the special legislative session, the Senate was supposed to hold orientation for new members, which also has been postponed.

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The State of Missouri is issuing new guidance for schools related to COVID-19.  Governor Mike Parson announced Thursday that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education now advises that close contacts of a person with COVID-19 in a school setting don’t have to quarantine if all individuals were wearing masks.

The guidance applies in school districts and charter schools that have mask mandates in place and when all parties were wearing their masks correctly at the time of exposure.

The Missouri House gave final approval Tuesday to a $1.2 billion supplemental budget bill, most of which comes from the federal government.

The legislation gives the governor appropriation authority to ensure the state has access to additional coronavirus relief funds.

Missouri lawmakers began a special session on Thursday to authorize Gov. Mike Parson to spend federal money aimed at fighting the coronavirus.

But some Republicans want to do more than just approve Parson’s supplemental budget request. They also want to pass legislation to curb lawsuits against businesses that are related to the virus.

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