New lawmakers move from the campaign trail to the Capitol and begin a three-week crash course in state government. Twenty-eight state representatives enter as freshmen when the legislature convenes in January. Eighteen are Democrats. Ten are Republicans. The Missouri House of Representatives is a 163-seat chamber. State Representative Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) is coordinating the tour, which he says opens eyes. Icet remembers his freshman tour. It was the first time he had entered a state prison and seen how many facilities the state runs. He points out that the state of Missouri is, in essence, a very big business. This year, the group will tour state facilities across Missouri. It actually has been cut a bit from previous years, trying to get as much in without wearing out the newcomers. Icet says this is just the beginning of a long learning curve in the legislature.
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