Government & Politics

Parson calls Missouri lawmakers into special session on STEM, drug treatment

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is planning to call a special legislative session next month.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is planning to call a special legislative session next month.

Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday announced he was calling a special legislative session next month to consider two bills he vetoed earlier this year.

The session, to take place the week of Sept. 10, will run concurrently with the constitutionally required veto session scheduled to begin Sept. 12.

It will focus on drug treatment courts and STEM education.

Parson vetoed a wide-ranging bill that dealt not only with drug treatment courts but also with judicial retirement plans and efforts to clean up abandoned property. In a letter to lawmakers, he said the bill appeared to violate constitutional prohibitions on changing a bill’s original purpose and including multiple subjects.

He also vetoed a bill aimed at boosting computer science among Missouri’s high school students by allowing high school computer science courses to count toward math, science or practical art credits needed for graduation.

In a letter to lawmakers, Parson said he objected to a provision creating an online career awareness program for science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions because the detailed criteria for bidders “appear to be narrowly tailored to apply to only one company.”

Both bills passed the legislature earlier this year with enough support to override Parson’s vetoes. But lawmakers appear ready to avoid a veto fight with the new governor and instead try to address his concerns with the legislation in question.

Parson could still face the possibility of having his budget vetoes overturned by lawmakers.