Members of the General Assembly that are seeking reelection this year have been in full campaign mode since the end of the legislative session. As we have mentioned previously, all 163 seats of the House are up for election, as are 17 of the 34 Senate seats. Many of those positions are currently held by members that are term limited and cannot seek reelection, while numerous incumbents are facing opposition from within their own party and must win their primary election in August before advancing to the general election in November.

Politicos will be watching a handful of Republican Senate primaries, where ultra-conservative candidates have challenged more traditional Republican incumbents. These races are all in safe Republican districts, so the winner of the primary election will determine who the next Senator will be in those districts. Those outcomes will dictate the makeup of the Missouri Senate for years to come. Should the far-right candidates win, it will grow the membership of the Conservative Caucus and could have an impact on leadership positions in the Senate, especially the positions of President Pro-Tem and Majority Floor Leader, which are two of the most powerful positions in the Capitol. If the Conservative Caucus is successful in growing their numbers, we could see more infighting within the Republican party and more days of stall tactics and filibusters next session.

Regardless of the outcomes of the elections, it is safe to say that Republicans will continue to hold a commanding majority in both the House and Senate for years to come. We will likely also see a Republican win the State Auditor’s race in November, which means Republicans will then hold every statewide position on the ballot.

In other Capitol news, Governor Mike Parson has begun the process of signing legislation that was passed in the last legislative session. Thus far, he has signed over a dozen of the bills sent to him by the General Assembly. One of those bills, HB2149, allows for occupational licensing reciprocity in Missouri for military employees and contractors participating in the Innovative Readiness Training program as long as they hold a professional license in another state. The bill also allows for the land surveyor exam to be taken by an individual at any point after high school graduation. Parson has also signed several public safety related bills, as well as a bill modifying the use of eminent domain proceedings for certain electrical corporations, especially in the cases of agricultural land.

The Governor and his staff will continue the process of reviewing legislation to determine which, if any bills will face the veto pen. Parson has until July 14 to make that determination. Should there be any bills where he declines to take any action, the bills will automatically become law.

In addition, the Governor continues to review the budget bills passed by the General Assembly.  He has until June 30 to sign or veto items in the budget.  This year’s budget action by the Governor is being watched closely because not only will the Governor be making decisions on the record high FY23 state operating budget, he will also be making decisions on the ARPA spending bill which contains close to $3 billion in spending across the state.  We expect there will be some vetoes in the ARPA bill as.

To review all legislative action taken by the Governor on the bills passed by the legislature, please go to the following link:  This link is updated in real time and will give you the most up to date information.

Looking ahead, the House Republican Campaign Committee will hold their annual summer caucus from August 10-13. The event is an opportunity for the lobbying corps to meet current and future House members, fundraising for the Republican caucus, and meetings to set the agenda of Republican House members for the next legislative session. The event is being held at the Hilton Convention Center in Branson, and regularly raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican Caucus.

We will continue to keep you posted on legislative and election news in Jefferson City and across the state as it occurs. Nikki Strong, Strong Consultants.