Democrats in the legislature say it’s not a campaign-related action–they just want to announce their priorities for the 2007 legisaltive session 110 days early. But it IS only 55 days until election day No, they say, it’s not a Missouri Democrat version of the New Gingrich Contract for America from 19-94. Gingrich’s plan was released six weeks before the congressional elections that led Republicans into power in Congress. Missouri’s legisaltive elections in 2006 are EIGHT weeks away. Senate Democrat leader Maida Coleman of St. Louis says the issues are important whether they are legislative issues or campaign issues. But she says in this case they are campaign issues. Democrats, now in the minority in the House and Senate by a big margin, say the Republican legislature missed a chance for effective medicaid fraud prevention this year….refused to enact ethics reform that will keep friends and relatives of elected officials from getting plum government jobs…and failed to get tough with employers who hire illegal immigrants. They also say Republicans blew chances to restore the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities, or MAWD, program. Democrats say they’d correct those shortcomings iif they were in charge. Democrats tried during the newly-completed veto session to get the legislature to call itself into special session to deal with MAWD. But majority Republicans pointed out the state constitution does not allow the legisalture to call itself into special session during a veto session. Senate Republican leaders say they consider the Democrats desire to bring up MAWD to indicate they’ll join majority Republicans next year in a complete overhaul of the state healthcare system.
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