Missouri's 2021 legislative session just ended and lawmakers already are clamoring to return to the Capitol.
They've asked Gov. Mike Parson to call an extraordinary session to establish a state eminent domain policy and extend tax credit programs for meat processors, soybean and corn producers, according to the Center Square, which focuses on state government/economic reporting.
Missouri lawmakers, it reported, are also calling for extraordinary sessions to fund Medicaid expansion, address "election security," extend a Medicaid hospital tax and stop Kansas City from "defunding" its police.
We support some of the legislative goals, while we oppose others. But we have a bigger point to make: Extraordinary sessions should be just that. They have a place, but they need to be used sparingly.
You could argue if legislation had the support to make it across the finish line, it would have. Lawmakers had nearly half a year to do their thing.
So why are they so eager to return? In some cases, they cite political gamesmanship that blocked their bills. It's also likely a point of pride for them to shepherd their bills into law.
We argue that if worthy bills need a second chance, there's always next year. And unless it's an emergency, it should wait until then.
Here's why: The out-of-session sessions often cost around $150,000. While that's a drop in the bucket in terms of the state budget, it's still money that could be used elsewhere.
However, the biggest reason is that these sessions are not conducive to deliberate lawmaking. They often last a week or two, compared to the normal process of nearly half a year.
Lawmaking is slow with many hurdles, and that's by intention. The process involves introducing a bill, holding a committee hearing and passing it out of committee, then debating it on the floor, approving it and sending it the other chamber for the same steps.
Condensing that into a week doesn't do justice to the process. It's like a company telling its employees: It doesn't need to be done right, it just needs to be done.
We've seen indications Parson, too, doesn't want to make extraordinary sessions any more ordinary than they already are. We hope that's the case, and we encourage the governor to limit lawmaking to January through May except for extremely pressing issues.