Cunningham bill challenges governor’s special session power

State Sen. Jane Cunningham’s special session effort to modify the controversial “social media” language in a bill Missouri lawmakers passed last spring, may not be constitutional.

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But Cunningham told senators Tuesday afternoon that a 1922 state Supreme Court decision gives her the leeway to propose a different idea from the governor’s plan.

Missouri’s Constitution says the governor “may convene the general assembly by proclamation” for special sessions, telling lawmakers “specifically each matter on which action is deemed necessary.”

Nixon on Tuesday asked lawmakers to repeal the controversial language, which Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem has blocked temporarily, as part of his consideration of a lawsuit filed last month by the Missouri State Teachers Association challenging the section’s constitutionality.

Nixon also said: “This matter is limited to the repeal of (the) subsections ... and should not be construed to allow or permit amendments. ...”

But Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, introduced a bill that modifies the language in that section, repealing only the subsection that has the social media language in it.

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