Missouri special session
4:55 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Mo. special session could last up to 2 months, UMSL prof. says

Missouri lawmakers are set to return to the State Capitol next week for a special legislative session.

Both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and Republican legislative leaders estimate it’ll take no more than two weeks to debate and pass bills dealing with a dozen issues, including air cargo tax credits, social media communications between teachers and students, and local control of the St. Louis Police Department.

Last year’s special session only dealt with two topics, auto incentives and state pensions, and was slated to last no more than a week.  But disputes over the details and a rift among Senate Republicans stretched the session to nearly three weeks. University of Missouri-St. Louis Political Science Professor David Robertson says this year’s special session could go even longer.

“There’s so much on the agenda and some of it is so controversial that it’s quite likely that the session will go on longer than the optimistic projections would have us think," Robertson said.

Missouri law limits special sessions to 60 calendar days, and Robertson says there’s a good chance this one could last that long.

“The bigger the agenda, the more time it’s gonna take and the greater the risk that some issue causes enough disagreement where negotiations are gonna drag on and on and on," Robertson said.

Both Governor Nixon and the General Assembly have the option of calling another special session if they feel the need to do so.

The special session begins Tuesday at noon.