By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Missouri state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville has been elected Majority Caucus chair, a leadership position in which he will help shape the Republican agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
Luetkemeyer served the past two session as Majority Whip.
“Which basically means keeping people inside the building whenever we’re having a late-night filibuster and waking up whenever we get quorum calls at two o’clock in the morning,” Luetkemeyer tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. “So, it wasn’t the most fun job.”
Luetkemeyer, who won re-election earlier this month, will step into the Majority Caucus chair position held by Sen. Dan Hegeman of Cosby, who is leaving the legislature due to term limits.
“In this new role, my job is really to lead caucus meetings,” Luetkemeyer says. “We just had our caucus retreat earlier this week where we set priorities for the caucus for the upcoming session. I was able to lead that meeting and I’m excited about this new role.”
Republicans once again control the Missouri Senate.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreement on legislation this upcoming session.
Republicans elected Luetkemeyer during that caucus retreat in Branson last week, which he says was a fairly quiet meeting.
“I will tell you in past sessions those meetings have been fairly tense,” according to Luetkemeyer. “There has been a lot of very impassioned disagreement I guess I would say behind closed doors whenever we have those caucus meetings.”
Luetkemeyer says he hopes that is a good sign of things to come after a rocky session this year in which Republican disagreement derailed legislation and caused ill will.
“Because, you’re right, the Senate has been plagued with a lot of infighting within the caucus. But I did not see any indications of that during the meeting that we just concluded.”
Missouri Republicans will once again attempt to reform the state initiative petition process in the legislative session that begins in January. Luetkemeyer points out Amendment Three, which legalized recreational marijuana, went the initiative route to amend the Missouri Constitution, rather than just change state law.
“That was a deeply flawed amendment. I mean, it was 46 pages long,” Luetkemeyer says. “There were all kinds of provisions in there that are going to create a lot of issues in that industry going forward. We need to make sure that if we’re doing something as significant as amending the Missouri Constitution, it’s done through a well thought out, deliberative process.”
Luetkemeyer says other Republican priorities for the upcoming session include banning transgender athletes from women’s sports and keeping Critical Race Theory out of the classroom.