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Politically Speaking: Speaker Pro Tem Wiemann Previews Home Stretch Of Legislative Session

House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O'Fallon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O'Fallon

House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where the O’Fallon Republican discussed some of the issues that may consume the Missouri House’s time over the next few weeks.

Wiemann is part of the GOP leadership team that runs the Missouri House. As speaker pro tem, Wiemann often presides over the Missouri House — and is part of some key policy discussions among the Republican supermajority.

Originally from Phelps County, Wiemann is an insurance broker who first won election to the House in 2014. But he’s been involved in Missouri politics for several decades. He worked for then-Secretary of State Roy Blunt in the early 1990s. And he also helped out on his father’s unsuccessful state Senate campaign in 1990 against then-Democratic state Sen. Mike Lybyer.

Since House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, is barred from running for another term next year due to term limits, Wiemann was widely seen as potential successor for the speakership. But he ultimately decided not to run. He is supporting House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo’s bid for the position.

Still, a number of House speaker pro tems have gone on to get elected to other offices — such as Congressman Jason Smith, R-Salem. Wiemann is planning to run for the state Senate when Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, is termed out of office after 2022.

Here’s what Wiemann had to say during the show:

  • Wiemann talked about the challenges of helping manage a very large Republican caucus. With 116 members, the House GOP often have divergent opinions on key issues — including measures regarding organized labor, like right-to-work legislation.
  • He discussed legislation to get municipalities to upload their expenditures to an online database. Wiemann said the vote count on his bill was close after his colleagues voted for an amendment making the disclosures mandatory — which he said may change as the measure works its way through the Senate.
  • Wiemann gave his take on how the House and Senate may end up coming to a compromise of sorts on a plan to finance repair of Missouri’s bridges. The Missouri House is seeking to spend $100 million a year for several years on the projects — which is a departure from Gov. Mike Parson’s $350 million bonding proposal.
  • He also discussed the prospects of lawmakers taking up a constitutional amendment requiring any city-county merger proposal to get local approval before going into effect. That plan, which is being pushed by Republican and Democratic House members, could counter a statewide proposal to merge St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow John Wiemann on Twitter: @JohnDWiemann

Music: “We Will Overcome” by Thursday

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.