“COVID-19 has had an overwhelming impact on our state, and while we have made great progress, this additional funding will be critical as we continue to respond and work through the recovery process,” Parson said. “We look forward to working with the General Assembly to make sure these funds are distributed across Missouri as soon as possible.”
The session will focus on distributing the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. Parson told reporters during Wednesday’s press conference the funds will be earmarked for several items, including child support, job training grants, school nutrition services, and grant programs for homelessness prevention.
The official proclamation outlined the main objectives of the upcoming session:
- To enact legislation providing for the supplemental appropriation of additional state and federal resources, including such resources necessary to respond to COVID-19;
- To allow the Senate to consider appointments to boards, commissions, departments, and divisions that require the advice and consent of the Senate; and
- Such additional and other matters as may be recommended by the governor by special message to the General Assembly after it shall have been convened.
Parson said he would be willing to expand the call to include a provision on COVID liability — a topic some legislators have pushed for — if asked by the General Assembly.
“If the legislature is willing, I think the legal liability issue should be front-and-center in this state,” Parson said. “I definitely would consider that if both bodies come together and say they have a plan in place. If we can work together to get that done, I’m open to that.”
The supplemental session will begin Nov. 5, two days after the general election.
Parson’s opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, called the announcement an example of “political cynicism.”
“This is way too little, way too late from a governor who has failed at every step to contain the virus and put Missouri’s economy back on track,” Galloway said in a statement. “Gov. Parson’s inability to distribute a billion dollars in CARES Act funding is one of the greatest failures of his two years in office.”
This is the second time Parson recalled the Missouri Legislature for a special session in 2020.
The first, focused on combatting rising violent crime rates in Missouri’s major cities, ran from July through September. The legislature passed two bills along to the governor to be signed into law.