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Politically Speaking: Rep. Richardson on leading state House's historic Republican majority

House Majority Leader Todd Richardson
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking is a southeast Missouri affair as St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome House Majority Leader Todd Richardson to the show.

The Poplar Bluff Republican is a second-generation lawmaker. His father, Mark Richardson, served in the House GOP leadership in the 1990s, a time when Republicans had been in the minority for years. Now, Richardson is the second most powerful lawmaker in a chamber dominated by his party – and has the inside track to become the next speaker of the Missouri House once House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, departs due to term limits.

Even before he won his leadership post, Richardson was widely considered one of the House's most capable and influential lawmakers. He handled a comprehensive overhaul of the Second Injury Fund, bringing to the finish line a priority that had bedeviled lawmakers for years. He was also the sponsor of Amendment 10, which gave lawmakers veto power over gubernatorial withholds.

During the show, Richardson said:

  • He learned from his father not to treat the opposing party disrespectfully, especially since electoral fortunes can turn big legislative majorities into minorities.
  • This may be the earliest time in recent memory the House has approved the Missouri budget. It’s possible that lawmakers are hoping to time passage of the budget with being able to override any withhold Gov. Jay Nixon may make.
  • Litigation is possible, even likely, if Nixon tries to “extend” bonds paying for the Edward Jones Dome as a way to finance a new riverfront football stadium in St. Louis.
  • Sen. Eric Schmitt’s bill to limit the percentage of fine revenue a city can have in its budget is a major priority in the Missouri House. State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, is expected to handle the legislation that could be one of most significant legislative byproducts from the unrest in Ferguson.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Todd Richardson on Twitter: @Rep_TRichardson

Music: “Holland 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel & “Untitled” by Neutral Milk Hotel

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.