As the Missouri General Assembly prepares to open on Wednesday for its five-month session, those involved – in and out of the state Capitol – say the big unknown about this year’s proceedings centers on one major question: Will the session be about the past – the continued debates over Medicaid expansion and tax cuts? Or will it be controlled by new matters – notably, the unrest over student transfers from failed districts and the looming 2014 elections?
Publicly, Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, are talking mainly about revisiting their 2013 battles over Medicaid and tax cuts. Some Republicans predict that the General Assembly may first tackle the student transfers to show that it can work in a bipartisan fashion to ease the concerns of troubled school districts – poor and prosperous – that are facing unexpected costs and public dissatisfaction.