The Latest: Missouri lawmaker raises fist during pledge
Jan. 03, 2018
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on the start of the 2018 Missouri legislative session (all times local):
A Missouri House member from St. Louis is making a symbolic statement during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Democrat Bruce Franks Jr. stood with his right hand raised in a fist Wednesday while most of his colleagues held their hands over their hearts on the opening day of the legislative session.
Franks told The Associated Press he prefers "to pledge allegiance to the people." Franks, who is black, says people who look like him and come from his area "are disproportionately affected by a lot of things."
Franks won election in 2016 after emerging as a protest leader in Ferguson following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.
Franks says he often leaves during the pledge to avoid controversy but stayed Wednesday because he had guests to introduce afterward.
Some Missouri senators are already clashing with Republican Gov. Eric Greitens just minutes into the start of the 2018 legislative session.
The fight is over his appointments to the State Board of Education and work to replace the state's top education official.
Greitens shortly before the Wednesday start of session withdrew his appointees, then reappointed them in a technical move that will give senators more time to consider their confirmation.
They face a tough road to confirmation after voting this year to fire former Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, who had support among educators and some lawmakers. Greitens pushed for months for Vandeven's ouster.
Fellow Republican Sens. Rob Schaaf and Gary Romine say they'll block Greitens' school board appointees.
Missouri lawmakers have kicked off the 2018 legislative session.
Lawmakers returned to the Capitol Wednesday for the start of the roughly five-month session.
Republican legislative leaders say they want to enact more limits on liability lawsuits and more laws on unions this session. Both the top Republican senator and the GOP House majority leader say goals include ending a law that requires minimum local wages for public construction projects.
Proposed changes to the state's tax laws also will come up. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has said he wants a tax overhaul this session, but he has not given any details.
Missouri lawmakers return to the Capitol for the start of the 2018 legislative session Wednesday.
The Republican-led Legislature was able to pass some long-sought priorities last year with the help of new GOP Gov. Eric Greitens. This year, Republicans appear set to make deeper cuts on similar issues.
Legislative leaders say they want to enact more limits on liability lawsuits and more laws on unions. Both the top Republican senator and the GOP House majority leader say goals include ending a law that requires minimum local wages for public construction projects.
Proposed changes to the state's tax laws also will come up. Greitens has said he wants a tax overhaul this session, but he has not given any details.