JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, will make good on a promise he made during Gov. Eric Greitens’ first extraordinary session by filing a resolution to extend the legislative session into a year-long affair. Holsman said he would offer such legislation if Greitens called another extraordinary session.
Just before the second extraordinary session of the legislature and requested by the governor is set to get underway, Holsman filed the bill as a way of criticizing Greitens for failing to pass legislation during the regular session and forcing state legislators away from their private sector jobs and families to make up for his own failure.
“The governor’s inability to work with the supermajority of his fellow Republicans to get things done on time has thrown our state into an unpredictable environment in which the governor can waste taxpayer dollars on a whim just to pass more laws and regulations for a never-ending campaign,” Holsman said in a statement.
The resolution would ultimately go to the vote of the people should it emerge from the General Assembly – which is unlikely. It would change the constitution to begin the session from ending on May 30 to Dec. 20, with some periodic breaks throughout the year. The regular legislative session would still begin on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January.
Unlike Greitens’ first special session call, the second special session has experienced a greater deal of controversy due both to the topic – increased abortion regulations, an issue fraught with extreme divisiveness – and the timeliness. Several Democratic legislators and a handful of Republicans have questioned whether the General Assembly should have to return to Jefferson City specifically to pass legislation that did not make it through the body during the regular session.
Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, on the other hand believes the April decision of a federal court to nullify several contentious abortion regulations in accordance with a Supreme Court decision from last year make this special session a topical one. An ordinance passed by St. Louis County that prevents job and housing discrimination against women for their reproductive choices, be it pregnancy or the decision to have an abortion, is also one of the stated reasons for the call.
Onder will likely carry the most impactful legislation this session.
“It’s urgent the Missouri legislature act to protect the health and safety of women and to assure people in the city of St. Louis have their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion protected,” Onder said. “I think the call definitely meets the standards of importance and urgency that governors use as their standard.”
“Judges issue decisions all the time and local governments pass ordinances every day,” Holsman added. “The only thing extraordinary about our current situation is the Governor’s learning curve due to a lack of governing experience.”
The Senate will convene for the extraordinary session will begin at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.