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Gov. Parson Again Rejects Call For Special Session On Gun Violence

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson at a press conference on government restructuring on Aug. 28, 2019.
Jaclyn Driscoll | St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Mike Parson says issue of gun violence should be dealt with in the regular legislative session.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson reiterated Wednesday there will be no special legislative session on gun violence. 

Parson called a special session to resolve a car sales tax issue to run concurrently with the state’s annual veto session. It’s set to begin on Sept. 9 and will cost taxpayers an estimated $16,000. 

The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus asked the governor to address gun violence in the state, specifically in St. Louis and Kansas City. But Parson rejected the idea Tuesday and again Wednesday when he was asked about it at a press conference on government restructuring.

He said he is not convinced that any change would happen even if he did add it to the schedule. 

“Special session, you want to do something in the limited time you think you can get a fix to,” he said. “I’m not for sure you get anything from a special session on the gun violence.”

Parson said topics as divisive as this issue should be saved for the regular session. He did suggest increasing state highway patrols and finding more funding to help with gun violence, but said it would be a combined effort from local, state and federal government. 

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson has asked for a change in state law that would allow municipalities to require permits for concealed weapons, but Parson also says this will have to go through the Legislature and is not a suitable topic for a limited special session. 

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City, is backing federal legislation that would allow cities to pass their own gun laws. That is prohibited by state law in Missouri.

Restructuring government

As announced through a series of executive orders in January, the restructuring of four state agencies is now official. 

The changes include: 

  • Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center moved to the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. 
  • Division of Energy moved to the Department of Natural Resources. 
  • Office of Public Counsel and the Public Service Commission moved to the Department of Commerce and Insurance. 
  • Missouri Arts Council moved to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. 

“This wasn’t about politics; it was about really how do we do a better job as public servants,” Parson said. “No matter what our titles are, whether it’s governor or directors, at the end of the day we’re supposed to be public servants for the people of this state. This reorganization will make us better, will make us more efficient for the future of this state.” 
Republican challenger

State Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, announced his bid for governor on Wednesday. He is challenging Parson for the Republican nomination. 

Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who announced her candidacy earlier this month, and Neely are the only candidates to make their campaigns for governor official. Parson is expected to do so on Sept. 8 at an event in his hometown of Bolivar. 

Neely, who has reached his eight-year term limit in the House, is a physician and has focused primarily on health care and education during his time as a state representative. 

As of July 1, Neely has about $19,000 in his campaign account. Parson has about $4 million combined in two accounts.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

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Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.