Language for this article originally appeared in a legislative column for Missouri Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, drafted by Zachary Reger.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A few weeks ago, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called for an extraordinary session of the Missouri General Assembly to deal with two ongoing legislative issues: STEM education and drug treatment courts.
On Monday, the legislature convened for the extraordinary session, which is currently set to conclude on Friday. On Wednesday, in the midst of the extraordinary session, the legislature will also conduct its annual veto session, when lawmakers consider whether to override any of the governor’s legislative vetoes.
While lawmakers are gathered in Jefferson City, several legislative committees will also meet to address various concerns.
Article IV, Section 9, of the Missouri Constitution grants the governor the power to call the General Assembly into an extraordinary session, so named because it occurs outside of the regular legislative session that runs from January to May of each year. Traditionally, the governor has only exercised this power when there is a pressing need for the legislature to address a certain matter before the start of a new regular session.
One goal of this extraordinary session is to consider a career awareness program for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, often abbreviated as “STEM.” The legislature will also weigh an expansion of Missouri’s drug treatment courts, which seek to rehabilitate offenders suffering from drug addiction.
The extraordinary session is an effort by the governor to avoid a straight override of two of his vetoes. Parson vetoed Senate Bill 894, which deals with STEM education, after it appeared certain provisions were narrowly tailored to apply to a single company — illegal under Missouri law. He vetoed House Bill 2562, which reforms the state’s drug treatment courts, under the justification that the bill unconstitutionally deals with multiple subjects.
The extraordinary session gives the General Assembly an opportunity to address the governor’s concerns on these bills by passing replacement legislation, as opposed to simply overriding the vetoes with a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives.