House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) makes a point

House Speaker Ron Richard makes a point.

House Speaker Ron Richard won’t apologize for the aggressive attitude the House brings to legislation.

House leadership pushed hard for economic development last session, sending a bill early on to the Senate where it languished until the end of the session when it finally won passage. The House blocked attempts to expand health care for children, a tense stand-off during budget negotiations that nearly derailed approval of the $23 billion state budget. House leadership kept a bill that would have required insurance companies pay for autism treatments from reaching the floor for debate, a move that prompted Gov. Nixon to issue a rare, public criticism of lawmakers.

House Speaker Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin, says the House has to be aggressive.

“The House is pretty dynamic and creative about what it wants to do, its vision for Missouri,” says Richard. “We always have a bill on all these topics that’s pretty aggressive, understanding that it’s going to be trimmed on the other side of the building (Senate) or going to be adjusted.”

A tight state budget will impact the legislative session. The governor has already cut more than $600 million from the current budget. Sagging state revenue will virtually guarantee that any suggestions for new spending will get nowhere.

Then, there is the year itself. 2010 is an election year. Will that make a difference?

“Absolutely, it always does,” Richard responds.


“There’s going to be people (who are) probably going to be concerned about voting for the (House) Journal, let alone anything else,” Richard says with a chuckle. “An election year is always an opportunity for people to be nervous about their votes.”

Richard says lawmakers will have plenty of time to make the right decision with their votes.

Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)