Missouri General Assembly

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Missouri General Assembly

Seal of Missouri.svg.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 4 terms (8 years) in House
2015 session start:   January 7, 2015
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Peter Kinder (R)
House Speaker:  John Diehl, Jr. (R)
Majority Leader:   Ron Richard (R) (Senate),
Todd Richardson (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Joe Keaveny (D) (Senate),
Jacob Hummel (D) (House)
Members:  34 (Senate), 163 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art III, Missouri Constitution
Salary:   $35,915/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014
17 seats (Senate)
163 seats (House)
Next election:  November 8, 2016
17 seats (Senate)
163 seats (House)
Redistricting:  Missouri Legislation Commissions have control
Meeting place:
Missouri Capitol.jpg
The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Missouri. The bicameral General Assembly is composed of the 34-member Missouri State Senate, and the 163-member Missouri House of Representatives. Members of both houses of the General Assembly are subject to term limits. Senators are limited to two terms, and Representatives to four; a total of 8 years for members of both houses.

According to the Missouri Constitution, "The general assembly shall meet on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January following each general election. The general assembly may provide by law for the introduction of bills during the period between the first day of December and the first Wednesday after the first Monday of January.

The general assembly shall reconvene on the first Wednesday after the first Monday of January after adjournment at midnight on May thirtieth of the preceding year."[1]

As a part-time legislature, compensation is low, and most senators and representatives hold jobs outside their legislative duties. Lawmakers are paid a salary of $31,351 per legislative year.[2][3]

The General Assembly meets at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.

As of April 2015, Missouri is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

See also: Missouri House of Representatives, Missouri State Senate, Missouri Governor


Article III of the Missouri Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to meet. Section 20 of Article III states that the General Assembly shall convene its regular session on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January of each year.[1] Section 20(a) requires the General Assembly to adjourn its regular session by May 30th.[4]

Section 20(b) of Article III also allows for a special session of the General Assembly to be convened by a joint proclamation of three-fourths of the members of both houses.[5]

Pre-filed bills may be filed in the House as early as December 1 of the year prior to the session and in the Senate as early as July 1 of the year prior to the session.[6]


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the General Assembly is projected to be in session from January 7 through May 30.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include Ferguson, ethics legislation, K-12 student transfers and teacher tenure.[7][8]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly was in session from January 8 through May 19.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included Medicaid expansion, tax cuts and reform, student transfers and right-to-work.[9][10][11]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included tax credits, capital improvements, an income tax cut, and a major revision to the state's criminal code.[12]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through May 30.[13][14]

Major issues

The budget was the main focus of the session, as the state faced a $500 million spending gap in January. The agenda at the start of the session also included economic development, Workers Compensation reforms, and overhauling public school funding.[15] Those items joined health care exchanges, birth control, charter schools, and sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine crimes as points of contention and accomplishment over the course of the session.[16]


In 2011, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 5 through May 30.[17] Governor Jay Nixon called for a special legislative session for September 6, however, the session was called off when Republicans hesitated on a push to overhaul state tax credits and authorize several new incentive programs, including one for a China freight hub in St. Louis. Assembly members were sent home so that they might read the revised 219-page measure over the weekend. According to Senate President Pro Tem Robert Mayer, the "important" bill "needs the attention of every member of this body."[18]

Session highlights

Budget cuts

Lawmakers passed a $23.3 billion budget for the 2012 fiscal year in May 2011, representing a $500 million spending cut compared with the previous year. Governor Jay Nixon cut an additional $172 million through "withholds" and $30,000 using his line-item veto before signing off on the budget plan. Withholds are an exercise of the governor's veto authority, but can be restored to the budget if revenues become available.

Education and culture were the big losers in the budget plan, with state universities and community colleges absorbing an average 7 percent cut in state support, and funding completely cut for state arts, public TV and radio programs. The General Assembly itself saw its budget cut by 4.6 percent, while spending on the Missouri Housing Development Corporation housing assistance program was halved.

Still, some programs did see substantial funding increases, including school bus transportation (21 percent), two state higher education scholarships (7 percent) and aid to service providers catering to people with developmental disabilities (2 percent). A new pharmacy partnership between Missouri State University and UMKC was also instituted, receiving $2 million in funding.[19]


In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 6th to May 14th.[20][21]

Role in state budget

See also: Missouri state budget and finances
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The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[22][23]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held from January through April. Public hearings are held in January and February.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in April or May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Missouri is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[23]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget. The legislature is not required to pass a balanced budget, but the governor is required to sign one.[23]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Missouri was one of the 10 states that used cost-benefit analysis more than the rest of the states with respect to determining return on investment regarding state programs. In addition, these states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis with respect to large budget areas and when making policy decisions.[24]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[25] According to the report, Missouri received a grade of C+ and a numerical score of 75, indicating that Missouri was "middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[25]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Missouri was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[26]


The Missouri State Senate is the upper chamber of the Missouri General Assembly. It has 34 members. Each member represents an average of 176,145 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[27] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 164,565.[28] Its members serve four-year terms, with half the seats being up for election every two years.

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 9
     Republican Party 25
Total 34

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Missouri State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Missouri State Senate.PNG

House of Representatives

The Missouri House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Missouri General Assembly. It has 163 members. Each member represents an average of 36,742 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[29] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 34,326.[30]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 117
     Independent 1
     Vacancy 1
Total 163

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Missouri State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Missouri State House.PNG

Standing committees

State executive officials
State legislatures

These are the yearly recurring committees that hold hearings on legislation filed by Representatives. Once filed, legislation is assigned to a specific committee by the Missouri Speaker of the House. Legislation is typically assigned to the committee whose province envelopes the subject matter of the bill. However, there are frequently multiple relevant committees to which a bill can be assigned, and it is at the Speaker's discretion to choose which committee receives the bill. Politics can also play a part, as the Speaker may assign a bill he or she wants to fail to a committee with an unfriendly chair or membership, or may select a more friendly committee if he or she wishes the bill to pass.

The partisan makeup of each committee is intended to reflect as closely as possible the partisan makeup of the entire House. Each Party caucus selects which of its members will serve on the Standing Committees, and the Chair of each committee is chosen by the Speaker of the House.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Missouri
Partisan breakdown of the Missouri legislature from 1992-2013

Missouri State Senate: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Missouri State Senate for the first 9 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last 13 years.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Missouri State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Missouri State House of Representatives for the first 11 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last 11 years.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Missouri, the Missouri State Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Missouri state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

Missouri was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Missouri state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Missouri had Democratic trifectas from 1993-2000 and Republican trifectas from 2005-2008. Of the 22 years studied, Missouri never finished in the top-10 or bottom-10. It received its highest ranking of 13th overall in 2000, the most recent year of a Democratic trifecta. Its lowest ranking of 23rd overall occurred in 1993 and 2008, both years of which had government trifectas. In 1993 it was a Democratic trifecta, and in 2008 it was a Republican trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 18.75
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 20.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 18.33
Chart displaying the partisanship of Missouri government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).


See also: Redistricting in Missouri

Legislative redistricting in Missouri is handled by two bipartisan commissions, one for each chamber, with 10 members in the Senate commission and 18 members in the House commission. The Governor selects these members from lists of nominees submitted by the state committees of the Democratic and Republican parties. Two House commission members must come from each congressional district. This differs from the congressional redistricting method, which involves the Assembly simply passing new maps as routine legislation. If a commission cannot complete the process in six months following appointment, a panel of six appellate judges takes over the process for that particular commission; it cannot interfere with one that has already finished.

2010 census

Missouri received its local census data on February 24, 2011. The state's population increased by seven percent, with most growth coming in the southern half of the state. The five most populous cities showed mixed outcomes: Kansas City grew by 4.1 percent since the 2000 Census. St. Louis decreased by 8.3 percent, Springfield grew by 5.2 percent, Independence grew by 3.1 percent, and Columbia grew by 28.4 percent.[31]

Since 1970, Missouri has had the courts involved in finishing redistricting; despite the commissions' intent, 2011 did not end that streak. Both commissions came to an impasse in mid-August 2011, and the special court panel took over. On November 30, the panel finalized a new plan.

While the House plan -- which put 34 Republicans and 23 Democrats into incumbent races -- stood, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the Senate plan. On January 31, 2012, Governor Jay Nixon appointed a new commission for the sake of redrawing the Senate districts. The commission approved a new plan on February 23; the plan -- which weakened Republican districts around St. Louis -- was met with hostility, then a lawsuit. After hearing testimony and tweaking the map, the commission approved the map again on March 12, and the lawsuit was dropped.



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Missouri House of Representatives are paid $35,915/year. Per diem is $104/day tied to the federal rate. Roll call is used to verify per diem.[32]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Missouri legislators assume office the first day of the legislative session.

General Assembly Joint Committees

See also: Public policy in Missouri

There are 17 joint legislative committees in the Missouri Legislature.

Special Committees

Special committees are a recent addition to the Missouri House. In 2007, Speaker of the House Rod Jetton disbanded several Standing Committees, which had previously been the norm in the Missouri House, and instead established the Special Committees. The subject matter of these committees is more specialized than the Standing Committees, so most of these committees have been assigned less bills on average than the Standing Committees.

Another distinction between Special and Standing Committees is that the Minority Party selects which members of its caucus will sit on Standing Committees. The membership of Special Committees, however, is decided exclusively by the Speaker of the House. The partisan breakdown of both Standing and Special Committees, however, is established by standing House Rule and is intended to closely reflect the partisan breakdown of the entire Missouri House.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Missouri General Assembly, "Missouri Constitution," accessed June 5, 2012 (Referenced Article III, Section 20)
  2. National Conference of State Legislators, "2011 Legislator Compensation Data," accessed June 5, 2012
  3. Missouri House of Representatives, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed June 5, 2012
  4. Missouri General Assembly, "Missouri Constitution," accessed June 5, 2012 (Referenced Article III, Section 20(a))
  5. Missouri General Assembly, "Missouri Constitution," accessed June 5, 2012 (Referenced Article III, Section 20(b))
  6. Senate Rule 44 and House Rule "Bills - Pre-Filing"
  7. KMBC-TV, "Things to know for 2015 Missouri legislative session," January 6, 2015
  8. St. Louis Public Radio, "Student Transfers Top List Of Pre-Filed Education Bills Facing Legislators," December 29, 2014
  9. KQTV, "Missouri State Legislature Begins 2014 Session," January 8, 2014. Accessed January 11, 2014
  10. KSMU, "Tax Cuts, Student Transfers May Dominate Missouri Legislature's 2014 Session," January 9, 2014. Accessed January 11, 2014
  11. KSMU, "Missouri's Legislative Session 2014 Preview," January 6, 2014. Accessed January 11, 2014
  12. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Business issues at top of Republican legislative leaders' agenda in Missouri," January 5, 2013
  13. National Conference of State Legislators, "2011 Legislator Session Calendar," accessed June 5, 2012
  14. The Associated Press, "Mo. Legislature officially ends its 2012 session," May 30 2012 (dead link)
  15. St. Louis Beacon, "Missouri legislature opens, with last session's issues at top of agenda," January 4, 2012
  16. St. Louis Public Radio, "2012 Missouri legislative session ends," May 19, 2012
  17. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
  18. STLtoday.com, Missouri Senate puts hold on economic development bill, Sept. 9, 2011
  19. The Missouri Budget Project, "FY 2012 Budget Approved with Additional Spending Reductions," June 24, 2011
  20. Missouri House of Representatives, "House Journals - 2010 Regular Session," accessed August 4, 2014
  21. Missouri State Senate, "Daily Journals," accessed August 4, 2014
  22. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  24. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  25. 25.0 25.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  26. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  27. U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
  28. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
  29. U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
  30. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
  31. U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Missouri's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," February 24, 2011
  32. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013