Governor Nixon says he has a good relationship with the state legislature, even though he is a Democrat and the leaders of the legislature are Republicans.
State lawmakers return to the Capitol today for a new legislative session. Republicans have majorities in both the Senate and House.
Nixon welcomes them, saying he needs the help of all 163 House members and 34 Senators if Missouri is to emerge from recession and address the problems facing the state.
“Well, I think the relationship we’ve had has been very solid and very strong and much different in tone than what we’re seeing in Washington, D. C. or, quite frankly, what we saw here before I got here,” Nixon tells the Missourinet.
Nixon takes pride that there hasn’t been a shrill tone in Jefferson City. There have been disagreements, at times quite vocal disagreements.
Nixon, a former state senator, seems to have a cozier relationship with the Senate. The Senate agreed with Nixon that health insurance companies should cover treatment for autism. The Senate also joined with the governor in pushing a proposal that would leverage an increase in the hospital tax to extend health care coverage to 35,000 Missourians. The House blocked both efforts and brought last year’s budget process to the brink when House leadership refused to budge on the issue. A compromise moved the budget process forward, but failed to resolve the issue.
Nixon says the make-up of the House has much to do with such conflicts.
“I just think the House is, by its very nature, a more unruly place. 163 folks trying to grab one microphone makes for a, especially when all 163 of those folks are politicians, makes for a little more contentious process,” according to Nixon.
Nixon does credit the House with pushing his economic development efforts last year, which nearly derailed in the Senate.
Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)