Political Rewind: Lawmakers Vote on Fiscal Cliff Deal, New Congress Sworn In and Mizzou Reorganizes Administration

A roundup of political stories on both the statewide and national level.

Editor's Note: The following articles were aggregated from the St. Louis Beacon You can read more about each story by clicking on the headline.

Third Missouri firm obtains judicial order to temporarily bar contraceptive-coverage mandate (St. Louis Beacon)

A third Missouri firm has obtained a federal judge’s restraining order barring enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring that non-church employers provide contraceptive coverage to insured workers.The three Missouri orders -- which cite the firms' religious objections -- contrast with the rejections of similar claims in several lawsuits filed in other states.

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Opening day of new Congress: Kirk walks the walk, McCaskill is sworn in, Wagner celebrates (St. Louis Beacon)

WASHINGTON – For U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., the opening of the 113th Congress on Thursday meant a difficult but triumphant walk up the U.S. Capitol steps – flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and cheered by dozens of fellow senators. For beaming U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and newly sworn-in U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, it was a day of celebration.

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Two prominent St. Louis area Republicans seek to become new chief of Missouri GOP (St. Louis Beacon)

Outgoing state Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, and St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin are competing to oust incumbent Missouri Republican Party chairman David Cole at Saturday's gathering in Columbia of state GOP leaders.

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Missouri Chamber's 2013 priorities include passage of a 'right to work' law curbing union rights (St. Louis Beacon)

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced its “aggressive list of legislative priorities’’ for the coming legislative session -- which include measures to cut business income taxes and to curb union rights.

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Justus emerges as pragmatic leader of Senate Democrats (St. Louis Beacon)

In early January, Justus will become the Senate’s minority leader. She’ll lead the Senate's Democratic caucus, a 10-person group that's seeking to make an impact in a Republican-dominated chamber.

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Dempsey carries BIG agenda as Senate leader (St. Louis Beacon)

In January, Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, will assume the role of president pro tem, the highest leadership position in the Missouri Senate. Dempsey's BIG agenda: build infrastructure, invest in education, grow the economy.

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New Congress convenes with plenty of changes for Missouri, Illinois (St. Louis Beacon)

The 113th Congress, which convenes Thursday, brings a new look to Missouri's U.S. House delegation with the swearing-in of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill becomes the first Missouri Democrat in three decades to take the oath for a second term.

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University of Missouri reorganizes administration (St. Louis Beacon)

It is shrinking the number of systemwide vice presidents from six to five in an effort to be more effective and efficient, President Tim Wolfe said Wednesday. Departments will be combined and new VPs will be the goal of nationwide searches.

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Senate backs Blunt resolution urging Russia to reverse ban on U.S. adoptions (St. Louis Beacon)

The Senate this week approved a resolution by Sens. Roy Blunt and Mary Landrieu appealing to Russia's government to reconsider its new ban on all U.S. adoptions of Russian children. Blunt said the ban is especially hard on at least 46 families, including two in Missouri.

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General Assembly returns with new leadership and full agenda (St. Louis Beacon)

When the Missouri General Assembly comes back into session on Jan. 9, lawmakers could tackle a weighty agenda that touches on health care, tax policy and labor rights. The legislature will also have new leaders, including two St. Louis-area Republicans leading the House and Senate.

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House passes fiscal cliff deal after GOP critics change course (St. Louis Beacon)

The fiscal cliff compromise passed by the Senate drew scorn from many House Republicans. But the House passed the measure Tuesday night 257 to 167, with support from some among the GOP who feared the party would be blamed for blocking it. President Obama said there's much more work to do.

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Missouri's U.S. House delegation divided on fiscal cliff vote (St. Louis Beacon)

In the final U.S. House vote on the fiscal cliff compromise, Missouri's three House Democrats were joined by two Republicans -- U.S Reps. Jo Ann Emerson and Blaine Luetkemeyer -- in voting for the Senate-passed bill. Three other Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, voted against.

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Blunt, Durbin, McCaskill vote for fiscal cliff deal (St. Louis Beacon)

In the wee hours of New Year's Day, U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, Dick Durbin and Claire McCaskill voted for the fiscal cliff compromise, saying it would help protect the nation's middle class and provide more certainty for the American economy.

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Russ Carnahan gives farewell address in U.S. House (St. Louis Beacon)

In his farewell address to the U.S. House after eight years, outgoing U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan paid tribute to his St. Louis constituents, his family and staff. He cited highlights of his House career and urged the new Congress to "put the country first."

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McCaskill appeals for final campaign cash by citing Akin as 'one of the worst candidates' (St. Louis Beacon)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is resurrecting  memories of her victory over Republican rival Todd Akin one more time – in a bid for campaign cash. With the New Year’s Eve campaign-finance deadline looming, McCaskill sent out an email appeal to potential donors over the weekend.










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