Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City on Wednesday for the start of the 2021 session. Both the Senate and House will gavel-in at noon.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be the major issue again this session, like 2020. Missouri’s current operating budget is about $38 billion, which includes two major supplemental budgets with federal money.
Republicans will control the Missouri Senate 24-10 this session. That’s a supermajority.
11 newly-elected state senators and six returning state senators will be sworn-in on Wednesday. Several of the new state senators are moving over from the House. They include State Reps. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, Holly Rehder, R-Scott City, Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, and Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis.
Razer, Rehder, Moon and Roberts were elected to the Senate in November.
The Republicans also have a supermajority in the Missouri House this session, 114-47. There is one vacancy that was created when then-State Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, resigned to become chief of staff for Senator-Elect Razer.
The House Wednesday is expected to elect the first Speaker in state history from eastern Missouri’s Arnold. State Rep. Rob Vescovo (R) has served as the House Majority Floor Leader for three years. Vescovo was first elected to the House in 2014 and will be starting his fourth term.
Vescovo is a former member of the Jefferson County Port Authority.
Springfield Republican Elijah Haahr served as Speaker from November 2018 until last Thursday, and has termed out of the House.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) will briefly preside over the House on Wednesday, once session begins. The House will then elect a temporary speaker from the chamber, who will preside over the vote for Speaker.
All Missouri House members will be sworn-in on Wednesday. That will include 46 new members who have never served before. It also includes the six members who were elected during November 2019 special elections. They are State Reps. Yolanda Young, D-Kansas City, Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, Mark Sharp, D-Kansas City, Trish Gunby, D-Manchester, Mike Person, D-Ferguson and Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob. Young, Aldridge, Sharp, Gunby, Person and Cupps were re-elected in November.
There will also be three new Missouri House members who served in the chamber previously. They are State Reps. Joe Adams, D-University City, Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, and Bill Owen, R-Springfield.
Owen will return to the Missouri House for the first time since 1981-1982. He served one term, after being elected in 1980.
There will also be a bipartisan legislative prayer service Wednesday morning in Jefferson City, to mark the start of session. It will take place at 9 a.m. at Concord Baptist Church, which is across the street from Capital Mall. There will not be a breakfast this year.
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