JANUARY 4, 2006 - Posted at 8:22 a.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Some familiar topics and a few new ones will be in the spotlight during the annual legislative session that opens today in Jefferson City.
Lawmakers convene the four-and-a-half month session at noon. Republicans outnumber Democrats 96-to-64 in the House, with three vacancies. The Missouri Senate has 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats.
Chief issues this year are expected to include efforts to restrict the taking of private property through eminent domain, and further changes in the Medicaid health program for the poor.
Abortion will also be back on the table. This year's debate is likely to include access to emergency contraceptives and whether pharmacies may refuse to fill such prescriptions.