Governor supports Legislature’s decision to reconvene at Capitol

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The Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City.

By Madison Czopek, Missouri News Network

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he supports legislators’ decision to return to the Capitol on April 27, which was announced Monday by Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia.

“I’m glad they’re coming back,” Parson said at his daily briefing Tuesday. “I think they’re essential; I think everybody should have a right to be represented right now with the challenges we face.”

He added that as long as lawmakers abide by the rules and are careful to maintain social distancing and other safety measures, he thought their return to the Capitol would be fine.

Sen. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, on the other hand, was critical of the decision.

“It’s deeply troubling that Republican leaders in the Missouri General Assembly want to bring hundreds of legislators and staff back to the Capitol on April 27, right as Missouri is projected to hit the peak of our coronavirus crisis,” Rizzo wrote in a statement.

He said that Republican and Democratic legislators alike want to return to work, but the return to the Capitol should be to pass a 2021 budget or to pass legislation that will help address the COVID-19 crisis. Rizzo criticized what he described as the Republican leadership’s desire to bring lawmakers back to “pass special interest legislation” that would not help the Missourians who need it most as the effects of the pandemic are realized.

“The Republican proposal to gather everyone together during the worst week of the coronavirus outbreak is the wrong plan at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons,” Rizzo said.