Monday, December 01, 2014
Nixon calls for special legislative session on Ferguson
Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday night he will call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to provide critical funding for the ongoing operations of theMissouri National Guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Ferguson and the St. Louis region. The Governor said that with the ramped up presence and role of the Guard and Highway Patrol in the region, financial obligations are on track to exceed the current appropriation authority for emergency duties.
In a call with legislative leaders tonight, the Governor emphasized the importance of taking action quickly to ensure that Guard members are paid on December 15. Additional details regarding the timing and scope of the special session will be released in the coming days.
“The dedicated men and women of the National Guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are playing a critical role in keeping people safe and protecting property in the St. Louis region,” said Gov. Nixon. “Time is of the essence. It is vital that we act quickly so that we can fulfill our obligation to the men and women who are so bravely and capably serving their fellow citizens.”
The Fiscal Year 2015 state budget approved by the legislature included $4 million for National Guard state emergency duty response costs and $3.4 million for the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for expenses incurred by state agencies, including the Highway Patrol, in responding to disasters and emergencies between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
“This was a productive discussion,” said Gov. Nixon regarding tonight’s call with legislators. “It’s clear these legislators share our commitment to public safety and understand the need for prompt action. I look forward to working with legislators in the coming days to ensure these vital resources are available.”
Gov. Nixon said that in addition to obligations that have already been incurred, other activities such as debris removal could result in additional costs. Exceeding the emergency duty appropriations would also limit the ability of the state to respond to other emergencies that could arise.
Unlike during prior emergencies, a special session is necessary for Ferguson-related obligations because the appropriations for the state’s emergency duty costs no longer include an “estimated” designation. Without the estimated designation, the Governor must ask the legislature to appropriate additional amounts when needed.