Missouri's legislature begins its 1997 session at noon Wednesday. From Jefferson City, Phill Brooks has a preview of the major issues:
Missouri lawmakers will be facing for this year's session some of the most heated issues in American politics -- taxes, welfare and pay raises for politicians.
The governor's proposed a massive cut in the sales tax on groceries.
And the federal welfare law will force lawmakers into making some decisions about how the state will manage a welfare system with less money.
Finally, before the legislature is a proposed pay increase -- that automatically will take effect unless rejected by the lawmakers themselves.
This first week or so will be more hoop-la and ceremony than substance.
It takes the legislature a week so just to get itself organized -- to get committees put together to review the hundreds of bills that already been filed.
The legislative leadership will be elected on the opening day.
But with Democrats holding a clear majority in both the House and Senate, their candidates for the leadership jobs are expected to win easy election.