State Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, wants to consider impeachment of Governor Eric Greitens immediately, instead of waiting until a special session. Last week, House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, announced that 138 signatures have been gathered among members in the Missouri Legislature to launch a special session on May 18. The General Assembly, which is comprised of 163 Republicans and Democrats, needed 123 members to sign off on holding an extraordinary session.

State Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, speaks on the Missouri House floor in September 2017. (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

During a press conference today at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Ellington said waiting two weeks is a waste of money.

“If it’s really that serious of an issue, you don’t wait two weeks if your house is on fire to call the fire department,” said Ellington.

When Missourinet asked if the Capitol is on fire, Ellington said getting legislative work done has been difficult.

“When you have both chambers pretty much stalemate because of the governor’s issue and we’re refusing to take it up and we’re doing perfection bills, I would say that we’re definitely in a state of emergency,” he said.

Fellow Democrat – House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City – has told Missourinet that a special session is needed, because a state House committee investigating Greitens needs more time to do its job. Some of the members who have signed the special session petition have said lawmakers can focus on passing a state budget and other legislation during the final days of the regular session.

The legislature must pass a balanced state budget by Friday. Rep. Peter Meredith, D-St. Louis, says he’s concerned about controversial bills passing and ones that have lacked public scrutiny this year because of so much attention going to the governor’s legal problems.

State Rep. Peter Meredith (D-St. Louis) speaks on the Missouri House floor on April 24, 2018 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“We are not at our level of focus to be passing good legislation right now. That’s a scary prospect,” Meredith said.

Meredith, a Democrat from St. Louis, says members have all the information they need to begin debating the governor’s fate.

“I have no interest in cutting short the investigation of that, I just don’t believe we should wait on impeaching until that investigation is complete. As far as I can tell, the longer this investigation goes on, the more things we uncover to investigate further. That means we just keep kicking the can down the road toward impeachment when we should impeach now and then keep investigating for the purposes of criminal prosecutions,” he said.

Greitens faces several accusations. His criminal trial involves Greitens allegedly taking and transferring a non-consensual photo of his undressed mistress and threatening to blackmail her with the image. He’s also accused of obtaining without proper permission a donor list from his former charity and using it to finance his campaign for governor. A Missouri House committee investigation has also allegedly uncovered potential federal campaign violations involving international donations.

The special session is set to begin on May 18 – four days after the start of the governor’s criminal trial in St. Louis.

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