State lawmakers are starting to speak their minds about the special session called by Governor Eric Greitens. The extra time in Jefferson City is costing taxpayers $22,000 per day.
While ordering legislators back to Jefferson City, Greitens said “We are fighting to bring more jobs to the people of Missouri. Some career politicians failed to do their jobs and then went home. That’s wrong. We’re cancelling their summer vacations and calling a special session to get this done.”
Such contentious language has led to sore feelings, particularly among members of Greitens own Republican Party.
Representative Rocky Miller, R-Osage Beach, chairs the Utilities Committee that reviewed and approved legislation the full House will consider Wednesday in the special session. He says he signed up for whatever the job brings, but he’s tiring of the length of this year’s legislative process.
“I do run an engineering company, so anytime I am up here working on this, I am not working for my family or producing in my hometown” said Miller. “It makes it hard on us.”
The House could be done with its heavy lift during the special session Wednesday if it passes the measure approved by Miller’s committee.
Senator Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, will be back at the Capitol Thursday, when his full chamber takes up the legislation.
He thinks the measure will be beneficial to the impoverished Bootheel region because it’s designed to create 500-600 jobs. But he’s not looking forward to an extended stay in Jefferson City or another special session. “I hope to get out of town on Friday, and hopefully not to come back” said Munzlinger. “I hope we can do this.”
Representative Peter Meredith, D-St. Louis, is a member of the Miller’s committee. He says he’s ready to do the work during the special session, but as a Democrat, has little patience for Republicans’ inability to finish the job earlier.
“I think it’s irresponsible” said Meredith. “There’s no question to me that Republicans have had control of both houses and the governor’s mansion. They should have been able to get their priorities passed, if they were important to them, during our actual session.”
Meredith is also quite vocal about an issue which sharply divides Democrats from many Republicans – Medicaid expansion. “Coming into special session in order to create 500 jobs, it frustrates me that we’re not calling a special session for Medicaid expansion which would create 24,000 jobs in the state.”
Governor continues tough tactics
Greitens tendency to strong arm lawmakers into addressing his priorities could be wearing out lawmakers. Tuesday, he held a rally with residents of the Bootheel region, the area that would benefit with job growth the legislation is attempting to achieve.
During the gathering, Greitens led the group into the capitol, where they plastered harshly worded placards on the doors of Senators Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, and Gary Romine, R-Farmington, two lawmakers who have been resistant to parts of the legislation.
Those two senators and other legislators of both parties have become weary of Greitens’ treatment.