Senate backs ‘Facebook’ bill with no changes, little debate

It took Sen. Jane Cunningham a minute longer to explain the bill than other senators spent talking about it, and the state Senate Monday afternoon gave first-round approval to the “Facebook Fix” bill with no dissenting votes.

A final roll call vote is needed before the measure can be sent to the House.

No one raised questions Monday about Cunningham’s argument last week that lawmakers have a right to pass the bill even though it goes beyond Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposal when he added the issue to the special session.

The Missouri Constitution says the governor sets the agenda when calling lawmakers into a special session, telling them “specifically each matter on which action is deemed necessary.”

Citing a 1922 Missouri Supreme Court ruling, Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, has said the Constitution only allows the governor to name the agenda topics, while lawmakers still have the authority to deal with the topics in whatever way they choose.

However, in the same decision Cunningham cites, the state Supreme Court overturned a law passed in a 1921 special session because it did more than Gov. Arthur M. Hyde instructed.

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