The Missouri Senate had seven new members after the smoke cleared from the 2006 election cycle. Only two served for the maximum time allowed under term limits – Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah.
The two lawmakers are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Justus entered the General Assembly as a combative fighter who fought tooth-and-nail against the Republican majority. Lager, who was arguably more conservative than his Republican counterparts, seemed on a course for higher office.
Northwest Missouri will have a new state senator next year, as Brad Lager prepares to leave office.
The Republican from Savannah can't run again because of term limits, but he says he's ready for the next chapter in his life -- which for now does not include politics.
Lager sat down recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin to talk about his time in office and about what he considers to be roadblocks toward making Missouri better. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Twenty-three Clergy members were arrested Tuesday during a rally at the capitol. The rally, by the group Missouri Faith Voices, was meant to get state senators to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Over 300 members of Missouri Faith Voices gathered in the rotunda for a rally before certain clergy members moved into the Senate Gallery. While, other members showed support outside of the gallery, the select clergy members sang and prayed out loud for about an hour before police arrested them.
The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday April 29, after taking care of the first 5 bills on Monday. Democrat Paul LeVota of Independence made an indirect attempt to expand Medicaid. He offered an amendment to create a line item in the Department of Social Services’ budget for extra Medicaid dollars to be drawn down if lawmakers ever decide to expand Medicaid. Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia opposed the amendment.
On April 8, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 39, which would appropriate $71.1 million for 47 repair and maintenance projects for the University of Missouri System. That money is part of a larger proposal to borrow $600 million for capital projects at universities statewide.
Missouri senators have endorsed legislation that could lead to the development of a preschool rating system by private or nonprofit groups.
The bill given initial approval Wednesday comes two years after a law was enacted barring the creation of a preschool rating system by the state, higher education institutions or quasi-governmental entities.
The new legislation leaves intact the prohibition on government involvement but would allow publicly funded preschools to participate in a rating system run by a private or nonprofit group.