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House considering changes to Rone’s steel mill bill

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The House moved slowly off the starting blocks Wednesday morning as the full body convened.

The chamber spoke amongst themselves and undertook last minute negotiations that could see several amendments added to the bill that would match the second part of Gov. Eric Greitens’ call for an extraordinary session.

Speaker Todd Richardson could be seen in deep discussion with Rep. Don Rone who is sponsoring the only piece of legislation to be considered by the House Wednesday. Rone’s bill, HB 1 seeks to give the Public Service Commission authority to allow drastically reduced electricity rates to a steel mill looking to develop in Southeast Missouri.

While the governor’s call asked specifically for that bill to make its way through the legislature, the much more open-ended second part of the call allowed for the legislation to include various ratemaking changes needed for utilities companies like Ameren to “make a fair return” on lost revenue from granting that lower rate.

That latter policy discussion has been in the works for almost two decades, but it has more substantial opposition than the timely economic development measure the governor has been touting. Sen. Gary Romine and Doug Libla have often filibustered such language in the past, and have hinted at doing so again if it essentially makes the PSC a rubber stamp on utilities. Some sources believed House leaders on the legislation were meeting with senators during the recess to assure some of the desired amendments to the bill had relatively smooth sailing through the upper chamber.

Currently, 23 amendments have been filed for the legislation and are located on the House site.