February 7, 2016

House Speaker hopes for more communication in Nixon’s second term

Jay Nixon’s second term as Governor is officially underway. The Speaker of the House says he hopes some things about it will be different from the first.

Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says legislative Republicans and Democrats, alike, have criticized Governor Nixon for not being involved early enough in debates over legislation, the past four years.

House Speaker Tim Jones (left) and Governor Jay Nixon.

House Speaker Tim Jones (left) and Governor Jay Nixon.

“We often, often did not know where the Governor stood on any particular issue until after the legislation was passed, and he would sharpen his veto pen, and then he or his staff would explain to us how he would sign the bill and we would have to go back through the process and make some corrections … in all cases the legislature’s time would have been much better served if we could have had that input and had that cooperation throughout the legislative process.”

Some predict Nixon will be more aggressive about staking his position on issues in his second term, partly because he can’t run for governor again and partly in an effort to position himself for a run for another office, perhaps in the United States Senate or on a presidential ticket.

Jones says for Nixon to be more vocal would be a good thing.

“I would not mind a governor who more clearly delineated where he was on particular issues as we move through the legislative session. I think Democrats and Republicans would tell you that was very hard to determine over the last four years.”

Jones says the Governor has already taken steps to reach out earlier to the legislature on issues.

“His office has reached out to my office earlier and we’ve reciprocated and I will be sitting down with the Governor and some of his staff [today], some of his top-level staffers have met with my top-level staffers over the holiday break and early on in the session.”

Nixon, in his inauguration address, touched on education and bipartisan cooperation but didn’t offer specifics on any issues. Jones says that’s typical of an inaugural speech and didn’t criticize it. He says he anticipates details on policy when the Governor presents his State of the State Address on January 28.