The Republican elected by his peers to steer debate in the state House expects to deal with three key issues in 2016.
Lee’s Summit representative Mike Cierpiot was elected by House Republicans to serve as Majority Floor Leader, meaning he will choose what bills are brought up on the floor for debate and for how long.
Cierpiot says his own legislative agenda during his five years in the House has been very light.
“I play defense as much as anything down there,” Cierpiot told Missourinet, “but I know next year we’re going to look at ethics, try to get an ethics law done, as far as the revolving door, and the gift ban and things like that. We made an attempt at it this year but there was some disagreement between the House and the Senate.”
He also expects discussion of how to fund maintenance of and additions to Missouri’s transportation infrastructure.
“I know the revenues from the gas sales is up and so the hurry is kind of removed, but I think it’s going to be looked at again for a long-term fix,” said Cierpiot.
He also hopes the legislature can pass a voter photo ID proposal in 2016. The House again succeeded in sending the Senate legislation on that issue this year, but it did not reach the Senate floor for debate.
“It’s something Republicans have wanted to do for a long time. It’s something that unites our caucus, and I’m hoping we can give it a high priority next year,” said Cierpiot.
Cierpiot also said he would work with Democrats on their priorities, but said it, “depends on what the issue is. There are some things that they want that we don’t want, and that’s just the way it is with Republicans and Democrats right now.”
“Some of the things like Medicaid expansion … I think has a very small chance of getting much light, but there are other issues I think we can work together on. I look forward to that,” said Cierpiot.
One priority for Democrats is a law to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals in employment and housing. Cierpiot said he would have to see what can reach him out of the committee process.
“If it gets through the committee process I’ll certain look at it and talk to some people and see,” said Cierpiot. “It’s really hard to predict how a bill will be handled until you see the actual way it’s drawn up.”
Cierpiot had planned to run for floor leader in 2016 anyway, but the position came open at the end of this year’s session when then-Majority Floor Leader Todd Richardson was elected by his caucus to be House Speaker. Richardson replaced John Diehl, Junior, who resigned after admitting to sharing sexually-suggestive text messages with a college intern.
Cierpiot hopes his election is another step toward getting the caucus back on track following that controversy.
“I was a big fan of John. He was a very talented guy. I, of course, was disappointed with what happened. I think with John resigning we got it behind us pretty quickly,” said Cierpiot.