The Missouri Senate will convene Monday afternoon at 4 in Jefferson City to begin the special session called by Governor Eric Greitens (R) on abortion-related issues.
The governor issued his call last Wednesday. Greitens is urging Missouri lawmakers to pass legislation to protect pregnancy resource centers and to implement health and safety standards in abortion clinics.
Greitens spoke Friday to Missourinet television partner KOLR-10 in Springfield.
“These are just some really common sense health and safety standards for the people of Missouri, while we’re also standing up and protecting these pregnancy care centers which do fantastic work, not just in St. Louis but across the state of Missouri, including right here in Springfield,” Greitens says.
Greitens and former Arkansas Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee rallied with supporters in Springfield and in Joplin on Friday.
Greitens announced his special session call in a Facebook video, saying “I’m pro-life, and I believe that we need to defend life and promote a culture of life here in the state of Missouri.”
Greitens says abortion clinics should have an annual safety inspection.
The Missouri House Progressive Caucus, which includes State Reps. Stacey Newman (D-Richmond Heights), Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) and Cora Faith Walker (D-Ferguson), has issued a statement, describing the special session call as “punitive and an irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars to address GOP sponsored legislation which failed to pass in the regular session with a GOP majority.”
The House Progressive Caucus statement also says the majority of Missourians oppose what the caucus describes as Governor Greitens’ “continuous attacks on women’s private legal reproductive choices.”
State Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) has written an op-ed, which says that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility had to call an ambulance 58 times in seven years. Barnes also writes that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility has been cited by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services “for hundreds of regulatory violations.”
The top Republican and Democrat in the Missouri House also have differing views on the special session.
House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) has issued a statement which says Missouri “is a state that is strongly pro-life.” Richardson also says Missouri House members “are ready to return to work to uphold the values of Missouri families, and to advance policy solutions that will continue to make Missouri a state where women’s health is a priority and precious, innocent life is protected.”
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) says Governor Greitens is “wasting” more taxpayer money. Beatty has issued a statement, which reads in part: “Missourians structured the General Assembly to be a part-time, citizen legislature with tight restrictions on when it has authority to act. Special sessions are supposed to be called only on ‘extraordinary occasions’ when immediate action is necessary. The governor’s failure to enact his agenda during the regular session falls well short of that high standard.”
Missouri Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) has issued a memo to staff, which indicates the Senate will also be in session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and possibly Friday.
The Missouri House is not expected to convene in Jefferson City until Tuesday June 20.