Political scientists look back at latest Missouri legislative session

Missouri state capitol building

(Photo by August Jennewein)

Another Missouri legislative session has concluded, and it did so in a way that was “certainly unusual,” according to David Kimball. That’s what the University of Missouri–St. Louis political science professor told the Associated Press for its article titled “Analysis: Mo. legislative session ends in chaos.”

In the article, Kimball pointed out that this was the time of year when a “flurry of final legislative, often important stuff” passes. The Legislature passed fewer than 50 bills, much less than what is typical at the end of a session, according to the AP.

On an episode of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” Monday, Terry Jones, Founders Professor of Political Science at UMSL, touched on what did and didn’t happen during the legislative session. Among those items that fell into the latter category were law enforcement reforms, which included mandated body cameras and police diversity training, as well as limits on police use of deadly force. The unrest in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown prompted the push for reform.

“The Ferguson agenda became narrowly defined as a police and law enforcement agenda,” Jones said on “St. Louis on the Air.” “If you ask people that are on the ground in Ferguson what they need, they also need things like early childhood education and housing assistance, and that was not part of anybody’s Ferguson agenda unfortunately.”

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jo Mannies, Marshall Griffin and Jason Rosenbaum joined Jones on the program. The news organization is a service of UMSL.

In a second Associated Press article, David Robertson, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Political Science at UMSL, discussed the Missouri Republican Party’s ups (commanding majorities in the Legislature) and downs (scandal and tragedy) during the recently wrapped session.


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