Friday, August 19, 2011

Delayed Call for Missouri Special Session Keeps Presidential Primary Date in Limbo

Over the weekend, FHQ cobbled together several bits of news concerning the situation surrounding the scheduling of the presidential primary in Missouri. Basically, there are two options for altering the date: a veto override of the previously passed presidential primary bill or a "clean" presidential primary bill to be introduced a special legislative session. We made the point then that the special session offered the path of least resistance.

That is still the case. However, Jessica Machetta of Missournet reported yesterday that Governor Jay Nixon (D) is taking his time in making the call for the special session:

Nixon spokesman Sam Murphy says the Governor’s office is finalizing the language of the call and working directly with members in both the House and the Senate with policy expertise to ensure that we have a crisp and focused special session to pass legislation to create jobs, finance disaster recovery and ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested responsibly.

Governor Nixon said a few weeks ago that he would call the legislature back into special session to take up a jobs bill, a change in the date for Missouri’s presidential primary and other possible key issues.

The Republican majorities in the General Assembly hope that session will be in early September:
Republican legislative leaders said they had hoped for a Sept. 6 start date, stated in their letter to Nixon that “the legislature has the hard task to pass (in a limited time) the most sweeping jobs and fiscal accountability legislation ever attempted.

Missouri Republicans leaders in the legislature also wonder about the short "official" notice of the session's details:
Senate Leader Rob Mayer of Dexter and House Speaker Stephen Tilley of Perryville have written Nixon a letter urging him to set a date, saying the citizen members of the Missouri legislature need advance time to plan with their families and employers.
Now, FHQ's intent here is not to cast doubt on the likelihood of either a special session or the passage of a "clean" presidential primary bill. Those are still, in our opinion, likely outcomes. That said, the back and forth between the legislative and executive branches continues to keep the scheduling of the presidential primary in an uncertain area for the time being.

NOTE: The Missouri General Assembly has a veto session scheduled for September 14.

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