JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers returned to the State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 9, to begin the 2019 legislative session, marking the official start of the 100th Missouri General Assembly.
In the Missouri Senate, nine new senators took the oath of office following the results of the November election. Eight senators returned for a second term after winning re-election.
The Senate also selected a new president pro tem, Sen. Dave Schatz, a Republican from Sullivan.
After the first day of session, lawmakers from both the House and Senate participated in the traditional Grand March and Legislative Ball in the Capitol rotunda.
In the coming weeks, legislative committees will begin meeting to evaluate some of the hundreds of bills and resolutions filed by lawmakers so far.
The president pro tem said one of his goals this session is to evaluate alternative sources for transportation funding following voters’ rejection of a fuel tax increase in November.
“I think that we see deferred maintenance is going to continue to cost more at the end of the day,” Schatz said. “But I think it’s going to be challenging. But there could be some new revenue streams that we could look at and have those conversations that may be able to help us fill that gap that we feel is there.”
The Senate’s minority floor leader, Sen. Gina Walsh, a Democrat from Bellefontaine Neighbors, expressed optimism about this year’s legislative session.
“I believe this session is going to be calmer and more focused, not just because of some issues that were put to rest on the second floor, but because we have put other issues to rest, and the people have spoken on right to work, Clean Missouri, the minimum wage,” Walsh said. “And I think that, as a body, we should respect the will of the people moving forward.”
The 2019 legislative session will conclude on Friday, May 17.