The Buzz

TheChat: Missouri lawmakers still struggling over highway funding

Good morning.

▪ “Most Missourians agree there’s a problem, and most Missourians overwhelmingly agree we have a shortfall in construction funding. The disagreement has been in how do we fix that?” — Missouri state Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican, on the issue of beefing up highway funding.

Lawmakers are considering a small increase in the gas tax, but know that any tax increase will generate intense opposition from conservative groups. Whether lawmakers push ahead for that increase this session remains to be seen. (link courtesy of

▪ “Fractured or not, we're still 23. We're still going to move on our business as the majority party.” — Republican Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, referencing the 23 Republicans in the now-32-member Senate.

The fortunes of the 2016 session very much ride on Richard’s statement. Tensions with Democrats remain, and the minority party already has staged three filibusters. Republicans have already shown they can roll right over those filibusters, and Richard is suggesting that that practice may continue as the GOP seeks to pass its priorities, which include voter ID and ethics laws.

▪  “He honored the title of `Senator’ with his service.” — Bob Priddy, the long-time Missourinet correspondent, remembering the life of former state Sen. John T. Russell of Lebanon who died Friday at 84 and served 42 years in the General Assembly.

Priddy summed up Russell, a Republican, with these important words: “His generation, now only a memory in the minds of many who are themselves close to being only memories in the Capitol, understood words like honor and courtesy, respect, and decorum, words that in recent days or even in recent years increasingly have become just words.”

▪ “They can simply pocket the difference, and that’s not fair. That’s not good government.” — Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, a Topeka Republican, on a bill she’s introduced that’s aimed at helping the federal government recoup some of its subsidy support for health-care coverage.

Jenkins is taking aim at Obamacare patrons who receive more of a subsidy than they are permitted under the law. Democrats are accusing her of trying to scare people away from the Affordable Care Act.