Disasters could be special session topic

In a one-month period, Missouri saw two major storm systems spawn tornadoes, in Joplin last Sunday, May 22 — killing at least 126 people and causing an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion in damage to around 8,000 damaged or demolished buildings — and near Lambert/St. Louis International Airport on April 22 (property damage, but no deaths).

In between the tornadoes was the major flooding along the Mississippi River south of St. Louis and, especially, in the Bootheel region; near Poplar Bluff; and in Southwest Missouri.

When the Missouri and Mississippi rivers set record flood levels 18 years ago this summer, then-Gov. Mel Carnahan called lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session.

This year, Gov. Jay Nixon already is being urged to call a special session for economic development, job creation and/or nuclear site permit laws, but he has made no commitments so far, and his office did not respond Thursday to an e-mailed question about the possibility of calling a disasters-related special session.

On Thursday, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer and House Speaker Steve Tilley said disaster recovery also might be a good special session topic.

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