The Missouri General Assembly convened in Jefferson City on Jan. 9. The opening week of the Legislature was full of ceremony, ritual and fanfare. New lawmakers took their oaths, the Senate elected a new president pro tem and legislators and their guests enjoyed a festive evening during the Legislative Ball held in the Capitol Rotunda.
For me, the highlight of the first week was the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, which brings people of all faiths together to launch the legislative season on a faithful note. It was an opportunity to reflect on higher callings and purposes, dedicate ourselves to service and seek God’s guidance.
The 2019 prayer breakfast was the first with our new governor – a man who assumed office under difficult circumstances, but has brought a spirit of cooperation and collegiality to the capital city. As he addressed those gathered in prayer, the governor stressed the need to focus our efforts on matters that lift up our citizens.
Officially, this year marks the First Regular Session of the 100th General Assembly of the State of Missouri. According to our constitution, there is a new General Assembly every two years. One regular session is held each year, with veto and special sessions called as required. This year’s regular session runs through May 17. To commemorate this historic 100th General Assembly, both houses of the Legislature met in a joint session to pose for a group photograph.
The camaraderie between Missouri’s legislative bodies continued into the night as lawmakers, guests and members of the public donned suits, tuxedos and formal evening dresses to dance the night away on the floor of the Capitol Rotunda. Similar to the Governor’s Ball, which follows an inauguration, the Legislative Ball is held at the start of each General Assembly and honors the newly elected House and Senate members.
As usual, this year’s first week was devoted more to ceremony than substance, but we did manage to get some work done. More than 230 pre-filed bills and 20 resolutions were read into the record and the Senate considered new rules and procedural issues. The legislative process always starts a bit slow, but I look for things to pick up considerably. Senators will soon learn their committee assignments and more bills will be introduced in the coming days.
I am looking forward to a productive session this year. It’s my hope that we heed the governor’s call and focus on increasing opportunities and economic activity for our citizens and tackle the hard issues with wisdom and civility. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as the session continues.
As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.