Missouri Legislative Session Ends, Celebration Ensues

Missouri Legislature
Missouri House of Representatives celebrates end of Session with annual paper toss.

Missouri legislators ended their session Friday at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, with the traditional, celebratory paper toss, where lots of papers are thrown in the air. This long-held practice is reminiscent of graduates tossing their caps as high as they can at the completion of the graduation ceremony.

This tradition happens in the Missouri House of Representatives every year at the close of the last day of the regular legislative session. The Missouri House and Senate are in session from early January through mid-May. The paper toss in the House chamber is after the House Speaker strikes the gavel to signal the final adjournment around 6 p.m.

This year’s bills stirred up controversy on both sides, for and against, ranging from gun rights to Medicaid expansion. With the largest Republican majority in the legislature since the Civil War, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s top priority for a proposed Medicaid expansion of using over $900 million of federal funds to cover 260,000 lower-income adults in accordance with President Obama’s health care law, was defeated.

Missouri has a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, but a Democratic governor. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately and are not necessarily members of the same party. That is currently the case with Gov. Jay Nixon (Democrat), and Lt. Governor, Peter Kinder (Republican). During Gov. Nixon’s 2nd inauguration speech, given in January 2013, he pointed out that Missouri has a history of being divided, especially during the Civil War. “For a time, Missouri had two state governments, two state capitals, and two governors.”

Not only did Missouri have two governors, but one was Confederate; the other–a provisional Union governor. The Confederate governor fled to Arkansas, insisting that Missouri would join the Confederacy, but that never happened. The state was heavily divided between Union and Confederate. In fact, in the Kansas City area, it was difficult to tell who was who. General Order Number 11, issued in 1863 by Union General Thomas Ewing, evicted everyone off their land. If they could prove they were loyal to the Union, they were allowed to stay. If they were loyal to the Confederacy, they had to leave.

The legislature returns in September for a special veto session to consider overriding any vetoes by the governor. but the regular session is over. The representatives and senators return to their home districts. Next year’s session starts in January, 2014.

Written by: Cynthia Collins, Guardian Correspondent

Source: Google news

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