Gov. Greitens tours southeast MO ahead of special session on steel mill bill

Gov. Greitens to tour southeast MO ahead of special session on steel mill bill
Published: May. 12, 2017 at 7:04 PM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2017 at 2:36 PM CDT
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Don Rone made a plea to the House to support his proposed amendment. (Source: Tim Bommel,...
Don Rone made a plea to the House to support his proposed amendment. (Source: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was in southeast Missouri on Saturday, May 20.

The governor was at the Noranda plant in New Madrid at 10 a.m.; at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff at 12:30 p.m.; at the Dexter Fire Department at 2:30 p.m.; and at Three Rivers Community College in Sikeston at 4:30 p.m.

Greitens called lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session to discuss just one thing: the steel mill bill that he said could create hundreds of jobs in southeast Missouri.

"And, unfortunately, the loss of jobs is not just a loss of income," Gov. Greitens said. "For some people, it's a loss of sense of purpose. These were good jobs, provided a sense of dignity and a sense of meaning. We want to bring back those quality, good-paying jobs to southeast Missouri and that's why we want to get this steel mill set up that can bring hundreds of high-quality, good-paying jobs to the people of southeast Missouri."

That special session will begin on Monday, May 22.

The special session comes a week after the normally mild-mannered Republican representative from Portageville gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the Missouri House on May 12.

Don Rone made a plea before the House to support his proposed amendment to Senate Bill 302 so that it could be sent back to the Senate.

According to a release from the Missouri House newsroom, "the amendment would authorize the Public Service Commission to set a lower utility rate so that the aluminum plant could be profitable."

Rone said he asked three Senators for support for the measure that would allow Noranda to reopen and authorize the construction of a steel mill in southeast Missouri.

House Speaker Todd Richardson released a statement regarding the special session:

"My colleagues and I in the House of Representatives are ready and willing to work to bring these good-paying, family-supporting jobs to Missouri. This is an issue that received overwhelming support in the House during the regular session as our entire chamber realized the significant economic boost these jobs can provide for southeast Missouri and our state as a whole. We will work quickly and efficiently during the extraordinary session to send this important piece of legislation to the governor, while also keeping taxpayer cost to a minimum."

During the speech, Rone said Senators Doug Libla, Rob Schaaf, and Gary Romine refused to support the proposed amendment to Senate Bill 302.

He claimed that the men refused to support the amendment, despite the fact that it would create hundreds of jobs in southeast Missouri.

In a statement, Governor Greitens said, "We are fighting to bring more jobs to the people of Missouri. Some career politicians failed to do their jobs and then went home. That's wrong. We're canceling their summer vacations and calling a special session to get this done."

The Noranda smelter shut down in 2016.

At the end of Rone's speech, he received a standing ovation by the members of the house.

The house passed his amendment with a final vote of 148-2.

You can read more about the speech here.

Late Friday, May 12, Senator Libla sent a statement to refute some of those claims:

Rep. Rone's intent of providing an economic electric special rate would have had my full support, if not for this.

Because people and businesses have no choice from whom to purchase their electric – anything that reduces the PSC oversight of fairness is serious business. Companies, such as Ameren, are a monopoly and enjoy by state law – NO COMPETITION. This is why we cannot afford any deterioration of the oversight capabilities and responsibilities of the PSC.

Just to be clear, I am not knowingly going to support anything that jeopardizes our current job providers, schools, and families not being able to financially meet their electric bills and other obligations.

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