A look at some of the major issues this legislative session

Feb 5, 2013

This week on the show, we’ll talk about some of the major issues the state legislature plans to take on this semester. Some very familiar, others not so much.

There’s clearly one issue that’s leading the pack… on both controversy and impact in the state this session. Last week on the show we also talked about the Medicaid expansion debate that Governor Jay Nixon highlighted in his state of the state speech. That debate has, of course, carried on, and will for some time. Last week, a group of advocates for Medicaid expansion delivered 15-hundred letters to the head of one of the House subcommittees working on Missouri’s budget for next year.  John Bennett a retired Disciples of Christ minister from Jefferson City, told reporters that Medicaid expansion is a moral imperative as he delivered the letters to the chair of the House Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health, and Social Services.

Of course there’s a public health element to this debate, but it’s also very much a business story. During his state of the state address, that was one of the main appeals Governor Nixon made to Republicans who are questioning the decision to expand Medicaid. KBIA’s Casey Morell looked more into that side of the story… and how the result of this debate might mean in dollars… and jobs.

The controversial issue that seems to rear its head every legislative session has made an early appearance this year. A measure that would require a state-issued photo ID to vote is headed to the floor of the state House. Alex Mallin reports from the state capital.

Meantime, at a press conference for the legislature’s black caucus today, reporters asked Senator Jamilah Nasheed if Democrats in the State Senate would filibuster a photo ID vote. She said, they’d “go to bat for voting rights.”

Another issue this session is one that legislators haven’t taken a look at for quite some time. A task force spearheaded by The Missouri Bar has released its recommendations for updating the state’s criminal justice system. The Bar Association says it would be the first major update to the state criminal code since 1979. The legislation was introduced in the state house two weeks ago, and introduced in the Senate Monday. As Jennifer Davidson reports, most changes would require the approval of the state legislature.