Missouri special legislative session starts Monday

(Missourinet) Missouri lawmakers will return to the State Capitol in Jefferson City on Monday for a special session involving a complicated State Supreme Court ruling about vehicle sales.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs legislation on July 10, 2019 (file photo courtesy of Governor Parson’s office)

While it’s not officially on the special session agenda, Democrats in both the House and Senate will have an opportunity to speak on the respective floors about the issue of gun violence, which is a top priority for the Legislative Black Caucus.

Governor Mike Parson (R) announced in August that he’s calling the special session over the Supreme Court’s “Kehlenbrink vs. Department of Revenue” case.

“After reviewing the court’s decision, we’ve decided to call a special session because it’s simply the right thing to do for the people of our state,” Parson announced in August. “The enforcement of this decision would create a financial burden on Missouri taxpayers and unnecessary government red tape that we can proactively prevent.”

The Supreme Court’s summer ruling involves using the sale proceeds of a vehicle as a credit against the purchase price of a new vehicle when calculating sales tax. Essentially, the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that state law unambiguously permits the sale proceeds of only one vehicle as a credit against the purchase price of a new car, for the purposes of calculating sales tax.

“And really, the simple version of it (the Supreme Court’s ruling) is when you trade cars in, for example if you trade two cars in, you get a credit back on those two cars or for that model if you’re buying another one. There was a ruling by the Supreme Court that says you can only do one,” Parson told Missourinet on August 15 at the State Fair in Sedalia. That was the first time the governor had spoken publicly about the issue.

Parson says the ruling impacts about 2,000 to 3,000 Missourians, adding this is money out of their pocket.

GOP leaders in both chambers indicate the special session should end by Friday.

House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, has released a schedule indicating the House will have a technical session on Monday, with floor debate and discussion expected Wednesday morning and afternoon. The House is expected to give final approval to the vehicle tax bill on Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, tells Missourinet he expects the Senate to take possession of the bill on Thursday. A Senate hearing would take place Thursday, and Schatz expects the Senate to approve the bill on Friday.

Under the state Constitution, both chambers will also hold the annual veto session Wednesday at noon, which means they will stop the special session and then reconvene it after veto session ends.

Governor Parson vetoed six bills this year. State Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, tells Missourinet he doesn’t expect any override attempts in the House or the Senate.

As for the Legislative Black Caucus, they support legislation allowing cities with high gun violence, like St. Louis and Kansas City, to approve their own gun control legislation. They wanted Governor Parson to include the issue in this week’s special session.

The governor opposes that, saying there are “many different opinions on how to find a solution.” Governor Parson met with State Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City, and other Black Caucus leaders behind closed doors last week at the Capitol. Representative Manlove says the governor is pushing for improved job opportunities in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The governor told Missourinet’s Jill Enders in St. Charles last week that he plans to send Missouri state troopers to St. Louis within the next 30 days. Parson also supports working with churches, to help prevent violence.

Manlove and other Black Caucus members will have an opportunity to discuss the issue on the floors of the House and Senate. Manlove tells Missourinet children are still dying, noting there have been more than 100 Kansas City homicides in 2019.

She says gun violence is “ravaging our streets,” and notes Kansas City and St. Louis have consistently ranked in the top ten deadliest cities for at least a decade.

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