October 25, 2014

Ex-House Speaker to call debate shots in Senate (AUDIO)

A former Speaker of the Missouri House has moved into position to make history in the state Senate. Joplin Senator Ron Richard was elected to the Senate after term limits forced him out of the House.  He’s one of only 11 Speakers in Missouri’s 192 years as a state to move on to the Senate. 

The Republican caucus has picked him to be its floor leader, and since Republicans control the Senate, that makes him the person who decides what bills will be debated and for how long.

Richard has served a quiet two years, knowing that his immediately-past Speakership might have left some lingering hard feelings among senators.

AUDIO: Richard  :08 

But Richard admits he’s going to have to have some on the job training in his new role.

AUDIO: Richard  :18   

“Functional Senate again” is a phrase the likely Senate President Pro Tem, Tom Dempsey, also uses. Both Richard and Dempsey in the last two years have seen the senate hamstrung by individual or small groups of senators that have blocked passage of important bills.

Richard’s elevation to Majority Floor Leader means he’s the next logical President Pro Tem after Dempsey leaves. No former Speaker of the Missouri House has ever led the Senate.