Special session starts Tuesday, but action may be delayed
By Ray McCarty, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Missouri
September 1, 2022 - Governor Mike Parson called a special legislative session to start September 6, 2022, but legislative leaders are reportedly still working on the path forward for his requests. Press reports indicate the legislature is more likely to begin consideration of issues during or after the constitutionally-designated veto session that begins at noon on September 14, 2022.
The Missouri Constitution allows governors to call special legislative sessions and requires the proclamation, or "call," to include the specific issues to be dealt with by the General Assembly during the special session. Governor Parson issued a special session proclamation accompanied by a press release on August 22, 2022. The proclamation said the special session would begin at noon on September 6, 2022, and requested the legislature consider enacting legislation to extend certain tax credits, reduce the individual income tax, and exempt ATV's used in agriculture from sales taxes. Gov. Parson also stated the specific sections he wanted amended and asked for an emergency clause to be added to any legislation to allow such changes to be effective immediately upon his signature. You may view the Governor's proclamation HERE.
While Missouri governors may call the General Assembly into special sessions and may designate the subjects that may be considered, there is no guarantee the legislature will give the requesting governor the result they request, including amending particular sections or passing emergency clauses on such legislation.
The Missouri Constitution in Art. IV, Section 9, limits the governor's power to stating "each matter on which action is deemed necessary." Art. III, Section 39 of the Constitution further limits the legislature by saying the General Assembly "shall not have the power...to act, when convened in extra session by the governor, upon subjects other than those specially designated in the proclamation calling said session or recommended by special message to the general assembly after the convening of an extra session."
During the administration of Governor Bob Holden, this fact was made abundantly clear as Gov. Holden called special sessions asking the legislature to enact tax increases to balance the budget the legislature had passed. Despite Gov. Holden's call, the legislature did not provide such legislation.
While a governor's "call" for session may set the parameters of the subjects and matters that may be considered, the governor's only control over the final outcome of the special session, as it is in any legislative session, is his or her signature or veto on bills passed by the General Assembly and presented to the governor. Those bills may or may not contain the specific language requested by the governor.
So while Governor Parson's proclamation is very detailed in the action that is requested by the General Assembly, including the timing of the start of the special session, the legislature is not required to actually take any action on any particular bill during the special session, nor is it required to have substantive discussions beginning on the start date listed in the special session proclamation. Such decisions are left to legislative leaders.
Press reports indicate at least some legislative leaders have decided there are further discussions necessary before they commit to actually taking action in the special session, and that they have decided to wait until September 14, the constitutionally required veto session, to take any such action.
Because individual income tax changes will impact the vast majority of Missouri businesses, Associated Industries of Missouri supports reducing the income tax burden and will advocate in support of such legislation as we continue to serve as the "Voice of Missouri Business"TM - a role we have held since 1919.
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