According to Republican Governor Eric Greitens, the Missouri Constitution says the governor must call one issue per special legislative session. Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, says if Greitens calls for more than one session this year, like the governor is considering, that would be a purely political move.
“He can put 10 things in the call if he wants to,” says Sifton. It sounds to me like you are getting an excuse for calling a series of special sessions, which is how they want to game theory it.”
Marc Powers with the House Minority Caucus disagrees with Greitens’ argument that the governor can only call one issue per special session.
“Gov. Greitens says the Missouri Constitution allows only one subject to be considered during a special session. However, this position is contradicted by the actual language of the constitution, which says the governor must “specifically state each matter” to be considered in a special session, as well as generations of past practice. In addition, Greitens’ own proclamation calling this special session contains a provision authorizing him to add additional subjects to the call,” says Powers.
In some previous special sessions, multiple issues have been covered in one session based upon the state constitution saying this:
“On extraordinary occasions he may convene the general assembly by proclamation, wherein he shall state specifically each matter on which action is deemed necessary.”
The governor interprets the language differently. He tells Missourinet he’s considering additional sessions this year to get some of his priorities passed. Some GOP bills that did not make it to his desk during the regular session include lobbyist gift restrictions to lawmakers, the creation of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, a statewide expansion of charter schools and banning wage requirements on construction projects.
Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, tells Missourinet the Constitutional language can be open to interpretation.
Sifton says there is no reason for additional special sessions this year.
“If he calls us back in two or three or four times this summer, it’s pure gamesmanship on the part of the governor at taxpayer expense,” says Sifton. “The Constitution says it has to be extraordinary. The fact that the governor liked this bill, that bill and the other bill and they didn’t pass, that’s not extraordinary. That’s ordinary. That happens to all of us. Him too.”
Expenses involved in a special session include mileage, room and board for lawmakers and costs associated with legislative staff work. The Missouri Legislature’s special session expenses are paid for by state taxpayers.
A special session is underway involving electric utility policies. The measure would let the Public Service Commission set a lower utility rate for the former Noranda aluminum plant and a new steel mill in southeast Missouri.
Supporters of Portageville Republican state Rep. Don Rone’s bill hope it will create hundreds of higher-paying jobs in the Bootheel region. Opponents say the true intent of the measure would be to increase electric utility provider Ameren’s profits.
Sifton says the name of the steel mill has not been disclosed.
“They have not told us anything. They want us to write a blank check without telling us what it is for. Maybe not a blank check, but they want us to pass incentives without telling us who the incentives are for. I have a real problem with that,” says Sifton.
Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, says large corporations typically like to keep their name confidential until the appropriate time. Dixon says the legislature could still evaluate the company’s information without knowing the name of the company.
According to Rep. Andrew McDaniel, R-Deering, the name of the steel mill is Magnitude 7.