February 10, 2016

Governor Nixon and House leaders discuss workplace issue legislation, budget

Governor Jay Nixon has met with leadership in the Missouri House of Representatives to discuss legislative priorities. Several Republicans have said it is the first time they can remember a Governor coming to a meeting of House leadership, and he says it was a productive get-together.

(from left to right) Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, House Speaker Steven Tilley and Governor Jay Nixon

Republicans in both chambers have said they want to know what the Governor will sign in legislation dealing with workplace issues. Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says Nixon spoke in general terms about those issues, but he feels he has an idea of what the Governor is thinking. “He believes there’s room to come up with a compromise on the second injury fund issue and the co-employee liability issue. I also, though, got the sense on the contrary point that the occupational disease issue to the Governor may be a road block.”

Jones says the House and Senate want all three issues, and a bill passed by the House on Wednesday includes all three.

He says the conversation with the Governor gives him new hope for it. “I think in order for him to sign that bill, that is a vehicle. The Senate now is going to have to do so some hard work in negotiating with the Governor’s office to find the specific language that this Governor will sign.”

House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) adds, “My take from the conversation is that the Governor’s willing to work with us and we hope by the end of session we’ll have something that we can pass through both bodies and the Governor will sign.”

The two sides spent a lot of time discussing the budget, which has passed out of the House and is now being worked on by the Senate.

Jones says clearly, the two see differently how it was approached.

“You know the Governor has a different take on working to reduce quasi-entitlement programs. The blind issue came up, also on the issue of removing the “E’s” from different parts of the budget.”

Jones sums up the differences as philosophical, not partisan. “It’s more of a debate between the role and power of the legislature, whose duty it is to pass a budget, and the role and the power of the executive, who has a constitutional duty to then implement that budget.”

Other topics discussed were economic development and the recovery in Joplin from an EF-5 tornado last May. Jones says the meeting lasted until after the House had started its session for the day. Jones says he hopes to see Nixon back at future leadership sessions.

The Governor’s Office declined to speak about the meeting.