Only 114 bills were passed in the 2017 legislative session last year and now Gov. Eric Greitens has called a special session to address some of his key issues.
State Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, says the governor’s office contacted both the House and Senate regarding a special session to begin Monday.
The purpose of the session is for the Legislature to give the Missouri Public Service Commission the authority to negotiate utility rates from Ameren to possibly reopen the Noranda aluminum smelter plant.
Passing the legislation may also lead to the construction of a new steel plant, creating 500 jobs in the New Madrid area.
The bill proposed during the regular session by State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, passed the House by a 148 to 2 vote, but the Senate failed to act.
At its peak production, Noranda was the state’s largest consumer of electricity, using more than the entire city of Springfield on a given day.
Alferman says he is in favor of the concept, but doesn’t know how he’ll vote until he sees the bill.
“I’m confident the House will produce a product,” Alferman said. “My only concern is if the Senate can return to a productive body again. The success or the detriment of this special session lies solely with the Senate.”
As of now, that is the only issue on the special session agenda, but in his call, Greitens left the options open for additional topics.
“I would love to see ethics reform on the short list,” Alferman said. “But, the governor will set the parameters.”
Calling a special session is a bold move for Greitens since they tend to be very specific, short and expensive.
“This would be my first special session as a representative,” Alferman said. “I have been involved with a few in the past as a staffer. They tend to be pretty chaotic and cost about $125,000 per day.”
He explained during the special session only specific bills can be filed and debated. No legislation from the previous session can be brought up by legislators, but the governor can dictate the agenda.
Unlike previous years with a Republican Legislature butting heads with a Democratic executive, the outlook on most of the 114 bills sent to the governor being signed is positive.
Alferman said there may be several bills vetoed, mainly due to problems with how the bills are written or other minute errors.
“There are going to be some vetoes,” Alferman said. “But, the governor is not going to go rogue.”
Alferman added, if bills are vetoed, there will most likely not be a veto session since the governor would have specific reasons for the vetoes and he and the Legislature share majority control as Republicans.