The 97th Missouri General Assembly opened this week with the usual pomp and ceremony. Friends and family gathered in the two chambers adorned with flowers, waiting for the noon festivities to begin.
Because of term limits many new faces will join the Missouri General Assembly this year.
In the House of Representatives, 50 of the 56 representatives that make up the freshman class are first-term legislators with six previously serving in either the house or the senate.
The Senate welcomed 12 new members to their chamber, all having previously served in the House of Representatives.
One distinction of the general assembly this session is that the Republicans have the largest contingent of members since the Civil War. In the house, Republicans control 109 of the 163 seats, while Democrats control 52 (there are two vacancies in the house). In the Senate, Republicans control 24 seats, the Democrats 10. This super majority would give the Republicans a veto-proof majority in both chambers if all party members stuck together.
Opening session days are usually filled with optimism, bold promises and pledges to work together. However, it usually doesn’t take long for partisan politics to enter the process. With the session running until May 17, only time will tell how long the festive mood lasts.