Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 7, 2005

House begins session with tone of bipartisan cooperation

The Missouri House of Representatives kicked off the 2005 session with a spirit of bipartisanship. After brief introductory comments by Governor-elect Matt Blunt, who presided over the swearing-in ceremony as part of his duties as Secretary of State, the newly-sworn in lawmakers elected Rep. Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) as Speaker.

In his remarks, Jetton focused on his desire to cooperate with minority members and to include them in the decision-making process. He suggested putting more emphasis on the committee level in lawmaking, and said he planned to limit debate on the floor with equal time being given to both parties.

Jetton used the example of the Missouri Bright Flight scholarship program for ways government can encourage personal responsibility. Students who qualify for the scholarship must meet certain performance expectations in order to remain eligible. He said a similar standard should be used in all of state government.

Jetton listed four priorities for the coming year:

  1. Building a stronger economy and creating jobs.
  2. Making government more accountable.
  3. Properly funding needed services.
  4. Protecting traditional family values.

He also talked about the need to stimulate the economy by passing tort reform and workers' compensation measures, as well as improving the state's highways.

In a post-session news conference, Jetton and the other Republican leaders stood together with Minority Leader Jeff Harris (D-Columbia) and the minority leadership to pledge cooperation as the session begins. Although details of the new rules are yet to be finalized, both sides predicted a much smoother legislative process in the coming year.

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