Jefferson City, Missouri – The Missouri General Assembly is the name of the state legislature of the American state of Missouri. It’s a bicameral legislature composed of a 34-member Senate and a 163-member House of Representatives. Members of both houses are subject to term limits, which is a stark contrast from states like New York today. Senators are limited to two four-year terms, and representatives are limited to four two-year terms; a total of 8-years for members of both houses is permitted.
The General Assembly meets in the capital of Missouri in Jefferson City.
Election Requirements of the Missouri General Assembly
To be elected to the House of Representatives, members must be at least 24-years of age. Representatives must also be a qualified Missouri voter for at least two years and a resident of the county or district of their constituency for one year before they elect to run for office. Senators need to be 30-years of age to run, a qualified Missouri voter for at least 3-years, and similar to the qualifications for the House, they must be a resident of their senatorial constituency for only one year before they run. The average member is typically a member of their constituency for multiple years – some lifelong residents.
Their election follows the same election schedule as the rest of the country, except for the term limits stipulation, which is unique to Missouri.
Session of the Missouri General Assembly
According to Section 20 of the Missouri Constitution, the highest written body of law in the state of Missouri, the General Assembly must convene on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January following the state general election results. The legislature then adjourns on May 30, with no consideration of bills after 6 PM on the dot. On the first Friday following the second Monday of May, these rules go into effect. In addition, no appropriation bill may be considered after 6 PM on the first Friday after the first Monday in May.
If the governor elects to return a bill with his objections after adjournment sine dies, the General Assembly is then looked to for a solution. They automatically reconvene on the first Wednesday following the second Monday in September for a period of ten days to consider the vetoed bills.
The governor can convene the General Assembly in a special session for a maximum of 60 calendar days at a time. Only subjects recommended by the governor in his call or a special message may be considered during the special session. Aside from the governor, the President Pro Tem and the Speaker may convene a 30-day special session upon petition of three-fourths of the members of each chamber.
The House and the Senate cannot adjourn without the consent of the other chamber for more than ten days at one time. Since it’s a part-time legislature, compensation is kept low for the members. Lawmakers make on average $31,351 per legislative year but are permitted to keep their businesses and previous positions while upholding the title.