Congressional map, budget are atypical Missouri legislative accomplishments

(The Center Square) – Moments after the end of Missouri’s 2022 legislative session on Friday, House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, rattled off a long list of items with new or increased funding.

Vescovo, who just ended his time as speaker and term in the House due to term limits, gave an emotional speech on the floor at the day’s end, imploring members to continue focusing on children’s issues. Vescovo reminded the House how he was adopted and made mistakes throughout his life, including dropping out of high school.

Vescovo said his eight-year term was difficult, but it was all worth it if it helped one child. He was somewhat hesitant to highlight one bill awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

“I’m proud of everything we accomplished and I could spend an hour on each priority,” Vescovo said.

Vescovo praised the work of Cody Smith, R-Carthage, for completing the state’s largest budget at approximately $49 billion. He also applauded the effort of Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, for countless hours spent getting a bill passed to create new Congressional districts as the lead on map deliberations.

“Rep. Shaul did a fabulous job doing an almost impossible task,” Vescovo said. “We never thought redistricting would play out the way it played out.”

The Senate passed a bill on Thursday creating the Congressional map, one day before the end of the session – a Constitutional deadline. However, it leaves election officials throughout the state with a tight deadline to prepare ballots and voting rolls for the August primary.

“We understand that timing is an important consideration and that implementation by local election officials will be burdensome with less than three months until Missouri’s primary election,” Parson posted on social media on Friday. “That is why, while we have not yet received the bill, my office has already started the review process of the proposed map. We will be prepared to take action soon after the bill is sent to my desk on May 18.”

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said Democrats would make the Republican’s last-minute delivery of the budget and the Congressional map a key element in this year’s House and Senate campaigns.

“It’s a non-presidential (election) year, so it’s going to be difficult for Democrats across the country,” Quade said. “We know that. But when you look at what we’ll be campaigning on this year, it is the dysfunction that continues to happen in this building. I think voters are frustrated with the way things have been going and are eager to look for new leadership.”

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