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Sen. Paul Wieland On Missouri’s Medicaid Fight And Gov. Parson’s Legislative Relationship

paul wieland 2021
Jason Rosenbaum
St. Louis Public Radio
Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, poses for a portrait at his office in High Ridge, Missouri.

Sen. Paul Wieland returns to Politically Speaking to talk with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about some of the big policy fights of the 2021 legislative session.

Wieland represents Missouri’s 22nd District, which takes in a portion of Jefferson County. He was first elected in 2014 after serving in the Missouri House and reelected in 2018. Wieland is one of the few Missouri lawmakers who served in the General Assembly when Democrats controlled the legislature, as he represented a Jefferson County-based House district in the 1990s.

Here’s what Wieland talked about on the podcast:

  • His bid to have Missouri’s Medicaid program not pay for certain birth control products. He has sought to place that amendment onto legislationauthorizing a tax that hospitals pay to help get federal money for Medicaid.
  • His opposition to Todd Graves’ appointment to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators. Graves, a former U.S. attorney and Missouri Republican Party chairman, was eventually confirmed after a long filibuster.
  • Gov. Mike Parson’s relationship with the General Assembly. Parson entered office with high hopes of improving the relationship between the executive and legislative branches. But there’s been some high-profile spats over the past year, including a blowup over the venue for the governor’s State of the State speech.
  • The potential scenarios that could go forward now that the legislature decided against funding Medicaid expansion.

Wieland has a long history in Jefferson County politics. He was elected to the House in 1994, but lost reelection two years later. After more than a decade out of state politics, Wieland made a comeback in 2010 when he defeated Rep. Jeff Roorda to represent a northern part of the county in the House.

Four years later, Roorda and Wieland squared off in a bid for the 22nd District seat. It was one of the most expensive contests of 2014 with Wieland, who spent more than $900,000, winning by more than 3,400 votes.

Since entering the Senate, Wieland has voted against some curbs on organized labor — including a high-profile bid to bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. He’s also emerged as an opponent of abortion rights and part of a group of GOP lawmakers who oppose the death penalty.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Paul Wieland on Twitter: @WielandNow

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