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 9, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Peter Kinder (R)
House Speaker:  Steven Tilley (R)
Majority Leader:   Tom Dempsey (R) (Senate),
Timothy Jones (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Victor Callahan (D) (Senate),
Mike Talboy (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 6, 2012
17 seats (Senate)
163 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
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.


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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through 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.[7]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through May 30.[8][9]

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.[10] 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.[11]


In 2011, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 5 through May 30. [12] 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."[13]

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.[14]


In 2010, the General Assembly was in session from January 6th to May 14th. [15][16]

Ethics and transparency

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.[17]


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.[18] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 164,565.[19] 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.[20] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 34,326.[21]

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 have 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


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.[22]

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.[23]

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

There are 20 joint legislative committees in the Missouri Legislature.

Joint Committee on Legislative Research - Oversight Subcommittee

Special Committees

Special committees are new 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.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Missouri Constitution,"Article III, Section 20," accessed June 5, 2012
  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 Constitution,"Article III, Section 20(a)," accessed June 5, 2012
  5. Missouri Constitution,"Article III, Section 20(b)," accessed June 5, 2012
  6. Senate Rule 44 and House Rule "Bills - Pre-Filing"
  7. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Business issues at top of Republican legislative leaders' agenda in Missouri," January 5, 2013
  8. National Conference of State Legislators,"2011 Legislator Session Calendar," accessed June 5, 2012
  9. The Associated Press,"Mo. Legislature officially ends its 2012 session," May 30 2012
  10. St. Louis Beacon, "Missouri legislature opens, with last session's issues at top of agenda," January 4, 2012
  11. St. Louis Public Radio,"2012 Missouri legislative session ends," May 19, 2012
  12. 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
  13. STLtoday.com, Missouri Senate puts hold on economic development bill, Sept. 9, 2011
  14. The Missouri Budget Project, "FY 2012 Budget Approved with Additional Spending Reductions," June 24, 2011.
  15. 2010 session dates for Missouri House
  16. 2010 session dates for Missouri Senate
  17. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  18. Population in 2010 of the American states
  19. Population in 2000 of the American states
  20. Population in 2010 of the American states
  21. Population in 2000 of the American states
  22. 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. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  23. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013