Chappelle-Nadal eyes new tactics to pass West Lake bill

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal has targeted a new group of people in her fight for buyouts in Spanish Village: lobbyists.

The senator has avidly tried to push legislation for the past two years to buy out residents living near the West Lake Landfill due to radioactive waste deposited at a nearby site decades ago. She has become known for her passionate, heartfelt speeches and hardline filibusters for the cause on the Senate floor, and SB 22 has made it out of the House Budget Committee and appears set to make it to House floor.

However, others beyond the chamber still oppose the bill, and Chappelle-Nadal promised Tuesday to see her bill through the last four days of the legislative session.

“When Republic Services pushes their multitude of lobbyists on legislators who may or may not know what’s going on, it’s totally disingenuous,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I’m going as far as targeting every single lobbyist who is pushing against SB 22 and I’m looking at all of their other legislation.

“If they proceed to lobby against SB 22, I’m going to make sure the other interests they have are also not passed during this legislative session.”

Logistically, getting the bill on the governor’s desk is difficult from here. It currently sits in the House Rules – Legislative Oversight Committee, which has its next hearing Wednesday morning. If the committee approves it and sends it to the House, the House would need to pass it. From there, Chappelle-Nadal would likely have to take it to conference with the amendments added to it during the Budget Committee executive session. After that conference, both bodies have to approve the bill.

It’s a long road, but Chappelle-Nadal sounded confident the two bodies would make the time to pass the bill and credited the House for not providing “as much pushback as there could be.” Otherwise…

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“If we don’t do it this week, I’m ready to shut things down,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I have nothing to lose.”

The Senator was joined by Republican Reps. Mark Matthiesen and Justin Hill. Matthiesen, who represents the affected district, has worked closely with Chappelle-Nadal on the West Lake Landfill situation. He said he had conversations with Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot, and that he was scheduled to speak with Gov. Eric Greitens sometime Tuesday.

“The Governor needs to protect the citizens of this state, as well as the legislature,” Matthiesen said.

Hill added that he would work to convince his own colleagues in the House that the issue was an important one for the body to consider, especially as it strikes a personal chord with him. During the Budget Committee hearing last week, Hill spoke about his wife’s cancer scares and her family’s struggles with cancer and autoimmune disorders due to their residency near Coldwater Creek.

“Those chemicals are in the West Lake Landfill,” Hill said. “If it’s hurt thousands of people in North St. Louis County and it remains to be a threat today, this is an issue the entire state has to address, regardless of where you’re at in the state.”

  

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