|JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The members of the Missouri House of Representatives were officially sworn in to office as the First Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly began Wednesday. Of the 56 members of the incoming freshman class, 50 are first-term legislators and six have previously served in either the House or Senate.
After being sworn in, members elected Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, to serve as the Speaker of the House for the next two years. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, was elected to serve as Speaker Pro Tem.
During an address to the body, Jones reminded members to keep the interests of their constituents at the forefront with every decision they make.
“In all that we do, the people expect us to abide by a simple rule; that government shall serve not as the ruler of the people, but that the will of the people shall rule their government,” said Jones. “As our state motto forever reminds us, the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law of the land. It is a motto that should be in our hearts and our minds with every action we take as public servants.”
Jones used his address to outline his “Triple E” agenda, which is focused on the issues of economic development, energy and education reform.
On the issue of economic development, Jones called on members to “cut, cap and create” the state’s tax credit programs; improve Missouri’s legal environment to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits; and consider a bond issuance proposal that would provide funding for road and other infrastructure improvements throughout the state.
On the issue of energy, Jones asked members to “work to ensure Missouri embraces responsible energy policies that will encourage affordable energy prices and technological development.” He asked members to continue efforts to develop the small modular nuclear reactor industry in Missouri, and to ensure Missouri’s regulatory framework does not impede Missourians from using existing energy sources or pursuing new developments using natural resources like coal and natural gas.
With his final “E”, Jones asked members to work together to create a strong, effective system of education that will ensure prosperity for future generations of Missourians. He said the legislature must protect education funding from continued encroachment by welfare expansion funding demands; provide school districts with the tools to ensure that effective teaching, not bureaucracy, is the number one priority; and give local districts and parents more influence over their curriculum and policies.
Listen to the Opening Day Address delivered by House Speaker Tim Jones.
Upon adjournment, both parties met with the media to discuss their priorities for the 2013 legislative session.
View the Majority Caucus press conference.
View the Minority Caucus press conference.
The 2013 legislative session runs from Wednesday, Jan. 9 to Friday, May 17. The Missouri House is currently made up of 161 members with two vacancies. Republicans control 109 of the 163 House seats, while Democrats control 52.