With the November General Election behind us, we now have a clear picture of the makeup of the Missouri House and Senate for the upcoming legislative session. Republicans will continue to hold super majorities in both chambers, with a 111-52 advantage in the House and a 24-10 split in the upper chamber.
In the only true competitive race in the Missouri Senate, Democrat Tracy McCreery of St. Louis County garnered 53% of the vote as she defeated Republican political newcomer George Hruza. Polling throughout the closing weeks of the campaign had showed the race to be very close, but as election results were tallied, McCreery pulled away with a convincing victory. McCreery is a familiar name in the Capitol, having served in the House for the last eight years. She takes the place of Senator Jill Schupp, who could not run again because of term limits.
Democrats managed to pick up a few seats in the House of Representatives, but Republicans still have a veto-proof majority of 111-52. Many of the races were decided by razor thin margins, and we saw two incumbents ousted in tight races. Republican Craig Fishel from Springfield will not be returning to the House as he lost to Democrat Stephanie Hein, and Mark Ellebracht, a Democrat from Clay County was defeated by Republican Bill Allen.
In the days following the election, members of the House and Senate met in Jefferson City to elect their leadership teams for the next two years. Dean Plocher of St. Louis County will be the new Speaker of the House, replacing term limited Rob Vescovo, while Jon Patterson was elected by his peers to handle the position of Majority Floor Leader. Patterson is from Lee’s Summit. Crystal Quade of Springfield will once again return as Minority Floor Leader.
Senate leadership was also decided as Caleb Rowden was chosen as the new President Pro-Tem. Rowden is from Bonne County and is a familiar name as he previously served as Majority Floor Leader. Taking over from Rowden in the Floor Leader position is Cindy O’Laughlin from Shelby County, who is beginning her second term in the Senate. John Rizzo will once again lead the Senate Democrats as he returns to handle the position of Minority Floor Leader.
Election night also saw Eric Schmitt cruise to a win over Trudy Busch Valentine in the race to relace Roy Blunt in the United States Senate. Schmitt’s victory leaves a vacancy in the position of Attorney General, meaning Governor Mike Parson will pick Schmitt’s successor. Parson will also be selecting a replacement in the office of Treasurer, as Scott Fitzpatrick was elected as the new State Auditor. Fitzpatrick takes over for Nicole Galloway who decided not to seek reelection.
The slate of ballot measures decided on election night means a slightly different look for the makeup of state government with the approval of Amendment 5. The amendment removes the Missouri National Guard from the Department of Public Safety umbrella and establishes the Guard as a cabinet-level department. The day-to-day operation of both agencies will reman the same. Voters also approved Amendment 3, which legalizes the use of recreational marijuana, and Amendment 4, which increases the minimum funding level for the Kansas City Police Department. Voters said no to a proposal to allow the General Assembly to invest state monies in municipal securities, and a measure to convene a Constitutional Convention.
The upcoming legislative session will gavel in on January 4, with pre-filing of bills beginning on December 1. We will review the newly filed legislation and update you on any impacts to the ASA and the construction industry.