Our Opinion: Lawmakers continue extraordinary inaction
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Anyone seeking a proverbial silver lining in this cloudy special legislative session may have to settle for this: Perhaps this debacle will end the nearly routine practice of reconvening to reconsider unfinished business.
Although the special session is not over — and may not be until the mandatory Nov. 5 adjournment — the legislative stalemate continued Monday.
Action to change the date of the 2012 presidential primary failed; inaction continued on an economic development bill.
The primary failure leaves Missourians with a February vote that essentially is a costly poll.
Because the February date runs afoul of national party guidelines, the state GOP has signaled it will use the more antiquated caucus system in place of the primary contest used more recently.
The caucus system has its detractors, who contend it strips voters of their opportunity to select a presidential nominee.
Moving the primary to March would satisfy those objections, comply with national guidelines and avoid punitive measures, but those efforts have not succeeded, thus far.
We have no objection to a March primary, but we believe it is foolish to hold a February primary that will cost $6-$8 million and produce meaningless results that will be replaced by caucus votes.
The economic development proposal remained at an impasse Monday when efforts to resolve differences between the two chambers failed to gain traction.
Negotiations stalled during the special session, which was called by Gov. Jay Nixon after Republican legislative leaders in the House and Senate essentially forced his hand by flying throughout the state to hold press conferences touting a deal on the issue.
The announcement, obviously, was premature. Momentum is stalled, but costs of the special session continue to climb.
The Missouri Constitution empowers the governor to call a special session on “extraordinary occasions.”
This special session may qualify only as a result of extraordinary inaction.