Legislative session kicks off Wednesday

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JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers went back to work Wednesday for the beginning of the legislative session.

At a news conference President Pro Tem. Ron Richard (R-Joplin), Speaker of the house, Todd Richard (R-Poplar Bluff) spoke about how ethics and flood relief would be top priorities as lawmakers get back to work.

"Missouri communities must have the resources they need to rebuild as quickly as possible," said House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis). "In the short term, nothing is more important."

Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) said he expects Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) to file three bills addressing ethics and lobbying in the state house.

Lawmakers also said the University of Missouri will also be a big talking point in this session.

"Mizzou is certainly going be a major issue this year, the University of Missouri is a major employer in our town and adds a lot to our community," Rep. Stephen Webber (D - Columbia) said.

Other topics lawmakers KOMU 8 News spoke with said Missouri's roads and bridges need to fixed. They said they will work on ways to meet MoDOT's needs.

"We're going to have to get something figured out soon, we've gone from $1.3 billion in funding for road and infrastructure repair, and we'll be down to, I believe, $400 million by the start of next year," Rep. Kip Kendrick (D-Columbia) said.

Senator Mike Kehoe (R-St. Louis) also said the roads and bridges need work.

"The governor has been very silent on what to do to fix our transportation needs. Now I know just in the last couple days he has endorsed a plan, but for the first seven years he'd been here it's been crickets," Kehoe said.

Barnes said there would be committee meetings regarding ethics as early as next week.