2013 Missouri Legislative Session Kicks Off

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JEFFERSON CITY - Members of the Missouri Senate discussed priorities for the 2013 legislative session at a State Capitol press conference Wednesday morning. Missouri's 97th state general assembly was also sworn in at the Capitol Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) expects the Senate to hammer out a plan to cut income taxes. He said that could contribute to economic growth. "Cutting income tax will send a message to the rest of the country that Missouri is headed in the right direction, and we need to be responsible of how we do that," Dempsey said.

Republicans hold 24 of a possible 34 Senate seats and 110 out 166 House of Representative seats. This means the Republican party has a super-majority in each house and could override any veto from Governor Jay Nixon.

Despite this, Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) said at the press conference she expects Republicans will still need Democrat votes to pass bills. Justus said Senate Democrats are putting education at the top of the agenda. "We also need to talk about things like workforce development... looking at vocational technical careers and that sort of thing," Justus said. 

Dempsey also touched on increasing vocational career opportunities and said lawmakers can expect many late-night sessions to accomplish these goals. While gun violence issues have been in the national spotlight after mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado, Dempsey expects possible measures to stop gun violence will remain at the federal level.