State legislative leaders say they want public hearings to investigate the Nixon Administration’s response to unrest in Ferguson, and to determine whether the legislature really needs to approve more money to pay for the state response.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) on Friday announced he would call a special session of the General Assembly because estimates show the cost of the Highway Patrol and Missouri National Guard’s response in Ferguson will exceed the money in the budget for those agencies.
In a joint statement, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles), Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin), House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) and House Majority Floor Leader John Diehl, Jr. (R-Town and Country) accuse the governor of a lack of communication and say that “has raised doubts about the validity of his request for a special session.”
They say the General Assembly conducted its own analysis of state resources and concluded that there is enough money, and the governor has the authority to spend it, to provide security in the St. Louis region long enough that the legislature could provide additional appropriations, if necessary, in the regular session that begins January 7.
Speaker Jones and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) outlined those concerns and budget analysis to Missourinet, as reported in earlier stories (below).
Those four Republican leaders have asked for the Joint Committee on Government Accountability to hold hearings to examine the governor’s actions and the potential need for emergency appropriations. Their statement says the committee is expected to meet “in the coming days.”