JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Wednesday, January 4, Missouri lawmakers will gavel in for the first day of the 2023 legislative session. 

In just a few hours, the 102 General Assembly will convene. There are dozens of new faces in the aftermath of the November election. After what some called a dysfunctional session last year, it seems like both sides of the aisle are optimistic.

Some might remember it was the general assembly’s job to redraw the congressional map last year – something that has to be done every 10 years. It caused major problems in both chambers, controlling the entire session. 

This year, a major priority is going to be spending the state’s $6 billion surplus. Senate leadership shared that they have a better feeling going into this session compared to last year.

“I do think the turnover of folks and the turnover of folks who served in the house who watched the Senate’s dysfunction from the House so when they come over, they said obviously I don’t want to contribute to that,” Columbia’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said.

“Last year the Republican majority had a tough time keeping the train on the tracks, so hopefully we will get along a little better, and we can get some stuff done for the people of the state of Missouri,” Independence’s Democratic Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo explained. 

Other major topics include passing sports betting and addressing foreign ownership of farmland. Republicans want to address initiative petition reform – making it harder to put a referendum on the ballot, while democrats want to pass tougher gun laws.

Something to note – after the November election, democrats added three seats to their caucus in the house, the highest amount of democratic members in a decade, but republicans are still in the super majority. 

Both the house and the senate will gavel Wednesday at noon.