The House has completed its work this special legislative session, or has it? That is a question that will be answered this week.
There was a bit of grumbling, some partisan bickering, but, in the end, easy passage in the House of the two bills being considered this special legislative session. If the Senate approves them without changes, they go to the governor, the session ends and the House doesn’t have to come back.
Democrat leader, Rep. Paul LeVota of Independence, expects to be back this week to address changes to the $70 million economic development bill, HB 1 . LeVota says he can’t imagine that senators will work under the same tight restrictions House leadership imposed on their members. House leaders wouldn’t allow representatives to offer any amendments that varied from the narrow call Governor Blunt gave for lawmakers to return to the Capitol.
The economic development bill is a product of intense negotiations between the governor’s staff and House and Senate leaders, negotiations necessary before Blunt would agree to call the special session. Blunt, Senate leaders and House leaders agreed to a slimmer version of the bill approved during the regular session, a bill that Blunt vetoed because of its scope and cost.
Does House Speaker Rod Jetton expect to come back? Jetton answers that he hopes the House has completed its work and doesn’t have to return, but Jetton is quick to say that the Senate cannot be predicted. The House would like for the Senate to take up and pass its version, ending the session. The Senate is scheduled to debate the bills Wednesday. If the Senate changes them, they return to the House and, likely, further negotiations between the two chambers.
The second bill being considered, HB 2 , would change state law to allow a major bridge improvement project to move forward.