Governor Nixon points to some unfinished business by the legislature but is not eager to call lawmakers back anytime soon to take care of it.
The numbers tell a story: 1773 bills introduced; 160 sent to the Governor. Twenty-two were just for the state budget, meaning 92 percent of the non-budget bills did not pass in their original form.
Although lots of issues did not make it, just a few are of high enough visibility or priority to generate any discussion of whether to call a special session to deal with them. This year, just two have bubbled to the top in the earliest discussions—with expansion of healthcare coverage for low-income Missourians the biggest one.
It’s big, but it’s not big enough for Governor Nixon to haul lawmakers back to the Capitol right away. “I’d want to get some consensus around that if we’re going to bring folks back,” he says.
Nixon says the plan would not have cost the state any money because hospitals had agreed to pay some higher taxes that would attract millions of dollars in federal matching funds. The money would have been used for healthcare for an estimated 35-thousand Missourians. He commends the Senate for passing the bill but is critical of a few house members who refused to compromise.
The other issue is a requirement that insurance companies cover autism disorders. It also cleared the Senate but couldn’t make it through the House. He says, “It’s certainly on my list to look at but I haven’t made a decision.”
Summertime special sessions are rare. Special sessions are more likely to be called in conjunction with the September veto session. They’re cheaper that way.
(attached with this story is audio from Nixon’s post-session news conference. Unfortunately, the questioners were not miked but topics included the special session possibility, autism insurance coverage, the failure of the healthcare expansion, budget vetoes, some miscellaneous issues from the session, small business tax reductions, and the impact of the economic development bill’s passage on the state’s negotiations with KOKAM America to build a new battery plant in Missouri—and the delay in passage of the economic development bill’s impact on an early KOKAM decision to build a factory in Michigan).