Missouri's 2020 legislative session underway in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The first day of the 2020 Missouri legislative session is in the books after the largely ceremonial activities kicked off officially at noon Wednesday.

There are always spirited debates during an election year, and even on issues where there’s some agreement, there’s still a long way to go.

Republicans continue to hold big majorities in the House and Senate, but regardless, longtime legislators predict passionate debating during this session.

"We're going to see a lot of fireworks go off here," State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) said.

Expect Republicans to push back against attempts at gun control legislation, while Democrats argue that there's a big financial incentive to keep communities safe.

"If we have individuals who are afraid to come there and play there, work there and enjoy the amenities that we have, then it will impact the state of Missouri as whole because a lot of the revenue that would otherwise come in would not,” Nasheed said.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) believes there are areas where lawmakers can find consensus in fighting crime.

“One of the big things big cities have consistently talked about is needing support for witness protection, Haahr said. We’re looking at ways to help provide support for law enforcement and prosecution there as they deal with those issues.”

You can also expect a look in 2020 at leveling the playing field for brick and mortar retailers up against online retailers.

There could be bipartisan support for a sales tax on online purchases from companies such as Wayfair. Republicans leaders said, in return, they'd want to reduce other taxes.

“When it comes to passing Wayfair with a corresponding cut that doesn’t bring in any revenue, that’s not something that we’re going to support," said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield). "This is something that has to pass. Democrats have been pushing for this for a long time as well as your municipalities. They need this funding and we need to get this done."

These are just a few of the many topics lawmakers will likely debate this session in Jefferson City. Gov. Mike Parson will deliver his annual State of the State address next week to outline his vision for Missouri in 2020.

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