The House has given preliminary approval to the two bills being considered during this special legislative session and hopes to wrap up work later this afternoon.
Both bills enjoy widespread support overall, but some questions are raised as the House debates the bills. The most controversial aspect of the economic development bill, HB 1 , is the so-called land assemblage portion, a tax credit given to develop abandoned property in the urban core. It has become very controversial in St. Louis, with some St. Louis representative contending that it will prove to be a windfall for one developer. House leadership refused to let them offer amendments to change that provision, stating that their amendments fell outside the scope of Governor Blunt’s call for the special session. Democrats grew frustrated when about ten amendments offered were turned back by Republican leaders using the same reasoning. Democrats accused House leadership of allowing the governor to dictate House debate.
Some representatives questioned the 30-year bonding program proposed to finance the repair or replacement of 800 of the state’s worst bridges, HB 2 . Though critics say the financing hasn’t been adequately explained, the House has given it preliminary approval with some House members saying the state cannot hold up a project that could prevent a bridge collapse similar to the fatal bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
The House has taken a break and plans to re-convene later today and wrap up its portion of this special legislative session and pass the bills on to the Senate.