Legislators back to work on Steel Mill Bill after interrupted break
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri State Legislators introduced three new versions of the “Steel Mill Bill” after returning from their one-week vacation.
Sen. Ed Emery, R-Henry, Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington and Sen. Wayne Wallingford R-Wayne Counties, each proposed a bill on the steel mill case. Each, with variations on the following criteria:
- The accommodation of a steel mill and an aluminum smelting plant in Southeast Missouri.
- Giving the Public Services Commission (PSC) authority to approve a special electricity rate for the aluminum smelting facility, steel works facility or other similar facilities.
- Authorizing the PSC to allow electrical corporations an opportunity to earn a return.
Supporters of the Steel Mill Bill tout the jobs it could bring to Southeast Missouri.
“If we don’t go into special session and wait until next year, that opportunity is going to pass them,” Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Jefferson County, said. “We’re not going to get those jobs, so that’s the urgency of why we are going to the special session.”
Emery said the economic impact of the bill is what makes calling the special session relevant.
“When the $2 hundred million a cooperation will be making in the state plus the jobs, 500 or more, very high paying jobs,” Emery said. “We are talking about an economic impact for Missouri that is beyond what most of us would imagine, and in particular for Southeast Missouri where it is a very economic depressed region.”
Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill agreed with the need for a special session, but hoped there would be more then one item to the agenda.
“It’s deeply discouraging that an opioid epidemic ravaging Missouri communities is apparently so low on the Governor’s list of priorities that it wouldn’t make this agenda of a special session, and I urge him to reconsider,” McCaskill said.
On Thursday, Gov. Eric Greitens posted a displeased post in his Facebook page. In his post he said “We are fighting to bring more jobs to the people of Missouri. Some career politicians failed to do their jobs and then went home. That’s wrong. We’re canceling their summer vacations and calling a special session to get this done.”
The specific locations of the developments stated in the bill have not been established.
The Senate will meet to discuss the bills and assign them to special committees on Wednesday.