Legislators Deem Friday as End of Special Session
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Legislators Deem Friday as End of Special Session

Date: September 22, 2011
By: Jessi Turnure and Matt Evans
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The special session of the legislature could near its end with little to show for itself after two weeks. If representatives and senators cannot come to an agreement on the China hub bill by Friday, the special session will be dead.

"I don't want to spend any more taxpayer dollars than I have to," Republican House economic development committee chair Anne Zerr.

The House committee passed the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act on to House floor debate but the Senate will not discuss it on Friday if the China hub bill is killed.

This decision stemmed from a series of meetings throughout the day.

Senators called a press conference at 1 p.m. to outline taxpayer protections in Senate Bill 8 for the House to consider.

"We have a history in Missouri of protecting taxpayers by implementing incentives that require up-front job creation and investments before any tax breaks are awarded," Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey said in a press release.

House economic development committee hearing met at 2 p.m. and after roll call immediately adjourned. Various Republican representatives and senators convened in Republican Senate Leader Rob Mayer's office.

Mayer said the House and Senate leaders discussed provisions they had differences with to see if they could conjure some sort of a compromise to move the bill forward.

"We're going through the process to find out if enough progress was made to continue through session," he said. "We're trying to work through what differences exist."

When asked if the special session would be a failure if leaders did not find a compromise, Mayer responded, "We're still working and channeling our energy to try to get this completed and get it done." 

However, House members felt differently when asked who or what would be the blame if the special session fails.    

"I think it's a failure in the governor's leadership and the governor inserting himself into this process and convincing a few senators to send us a bill that the house has never supported in the form of Compete Missouri," Republican House representative Timothy Jones said.

Jones said the House and Senate have some major policy differences and he's unsure if they will be able to bridge the gap or not.  

The House rejoined at 4:30 p.m. and again adjourned without discussing the China hub bill. Mayer stressed that Friday is a tight deadline.

"We'll make the decision to adjourn and come back or to adjourn sine die," Mayer said.

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