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Missouri voters empower Republican lawmakers

The capitol building in Jefferson City
j. stephenconn
Missouri voters ousted Democrat lawmakers in last week's election

Missouri voters have handed Republican state lawmakers an immense amount of power.

Republicans will have some of their largest-ever majorities when the House and Senate convene next year. They also will carry new authority to override the budget decisions of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, thanks to voter approval of a constitutional amendment.

House Speaker-nominee John Diehl said the recent election could be viewed as "a repudiation" of how Nixon has governed the past couple of years.

Nixon has blocked more than $2 billion of spending since he took office in 2009, including some spending restrictions that were used as leverage to try to persuade lawmakers not to enact tax breaks.

Republican lawmakers will consider in January whether to use their new constitutional powers to reverse some of those spending restrictions.

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