Missouri House leaders have confirmed they’re returning to Jefferson City next week to resume the special legislative session -- but their return doesn’t mean that there’s been any breakthrough on an economic development deal.
The special session ground to a halt last week because House and Senate leaders could not agree on whether to place expiration dates, or sunsets, on historic preservation and low-income housing tax credits, or on how much oversight Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) Economic Development department should have over some incentives.
A state legislative committee heard testimony today on what options should be considered for students enrolled at unaccredited schools in Missouri. It’s part of another effort to address a recent State Supreme Court ruling.
Turner v. Clayton affirmed that students not only have the right to transfer away from an unaccredited school district, but that the failing district has to pick up the tab. State and local officials fear it could lead to a mass exodus from schools in St. Louis, Kansas City and Riverview Gardens.
Missouri appears ready to hold its presidential primary in February - a move that trigger more confusion in the 2012 election calendar and prompt other states to elbow to the front of the campaign line.
Rules set by the Republican and Democratic parties dictate that only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada should hold contests in February; all other states are supposed to wait until March or later. National party leaders have threatened to reduce the national convention delegates for any states that jump the line.
Former Mo. Gov. and U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, cuts the ribbon at a new federal courthouse in Jefferson City named after him. Joining him (l-r), his wife Linda, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.
Credit (Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
The new federal courthouse in Jefferson City...President Obama signed legislation last week naming the new building after former Mo. Gov. and U.S. Sen. Kit Bond.
Credit (Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Former Mo. Gov. and U.S. Senator Kit Bond (R) addresses the crowd at today's ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the new federal courthouse in Jefferson City.
It replaces an older building, which shares space with a post office, and where judges, jurors, lawyers and criminal defendants all shared the same elevator. Bond says the new facility is sorely needed.
State senators plan to investigate an unfulfilled central Missouri project that used public incentives and was to employ several hundred people to manufacture artificial sweetener.
The project by Mamtek U.S. Inc. was backed by $39 million in industrial development bonds issued by Moberly, and the state offered more than $17 million worth of incentives. But the plant remains under construction, Mamtek has laid off its employees and the company missed its first bond payment.
Lawmakers have left Jefferson City and are not scheduled to return, even though the special session is still officially underway. House and Senate leaders are still at odds over a wide-ranging tax credit bill.
The only legislative action so far this week was Monday’s technical session in the Missouri Senate, in which two Senators gaveled the chamber in, took no action, then gaveled out about a minute later. The House is scheduled to hold a similarly brief session on Thursday.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) met with reporters at the State Capitol today to discuss the latest developments with the special legislative session. He also commented on the Mamtek controversy that has damaged the financial status of the small town of Moberly and caused some legislative leaders to question whether parts of the tax credit bill could wreak the same havoc.
You can listen to the entire news conference by clicking on the word "listen" above.
The special legislative session in Missouri did not come to an end today, despite warnings from House and Senate leaders that they would go home if an agreement on a wide-ranging tax credit bill wasn’t reached by today's adjournments.
Instead, both chambers will hold technical sessions, where just a handful of lawmakers gavel in for a few minutes and then adjourn. Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says his chamber will only meet in technical sessions until an agreement is reached on tax credits, or until time runs out in early November, whichever comes first.
Missouri lawmakers have quit working this week without agreeing on the details of a bill overhauling Missouri's tax credits and business incentives that had been touted as the marquee issue of a special session that began Sept. 6. There seems to be little chance of resolving the stalemate, but the two chambers did agree to keep the special session going in case a compromise can be reached later.
At least one bill has made it out of the special legislative session.
Today the Missouri House overwhelmingly passed the so-called “Facebook Fix,” which would remove confusing language from a new law regarding teacher-student messaging via social media. That law was placed on hold last month by a Cole County judge, who ruled that barring teachers from websites that allow private messaging with students would have a, quote, “chilling effect” on free speech rights.