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JEFFERSON CITY • If legislative leaders have their way, the Missouri General Assembly will zip through its agenda next month during the special session revamping jobs incentives.

Schedules sent to House members anticipate that the Senate will pass the complex economic development legislation -- including a $360 million subsidy for a China trade hub -- just four days after the session convenes on Sept. 6.

"Based upon our discussions and agreements reached with Senate leadership, we have been told to expect to receive the Senate's Tax Credit Reform/Economic Development/Job Creation bill" by Friday, Sept. 9,  wrote House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

By then, the House would have passed the session's other agenda items: local control of the St. Louis Police Department, the presidential primary date and tax amnesty.

The House would send those to the Senate and begin work on the jobs bill.

Ideally, said Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, the House-Senate negotiations on all four bills could be finished and the session concluded in as little as seven working days.

"I'm hoping we can get it done by veto session," the annual session that by law must be held at noon on Sept. 14, Dempsey said.

That seems ambitious, given that one senator can tie the chamber in knots by talking endlessly.

Sen. Jason Crowell,  R-Cape Girardeau, has written a three-part series this summer, blasting the tax credit legislation as the product of negotiations held in smoke-filled rooms, designed to benefit "fat cat campaign donors."

Dempsey wasn't worried about Crowell throwing a wrench in the schedule.

"This is an amendable bill," Dempsey said. "I'm sure Senator Crowell will have amendments."

Republicans control the Senate 26-8, and Dempsey said the Republican Caucus would "very much like to have a bill that has significant tax credit reform across the board, and some new incentives to compete and help Missouri expand."

One reason the floor leaders are striving for an expeditious session: The state must pay for mileage and daily expense allowances of $98.40 per legislator during the special session.

To keep costs down, Jones told House members they needn't come to the Capitol on Sept. 6 or 7. The House will use those days for procedural moves, such as introducing bills and referring them to committees.

House committee hearings on the local control, election law and tax amnesty bills will be held on Sept. 8. The full House will convene on Sept. 9 to vote on those bills.

The Senate committee hearing on the economic development bill will be held on Sept. 7 and floor debate could begin later that day, Dempsey said. 

(An earlier version had an incorrect partisan breakdown for the Missouri Senate.)








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Virginia Young is the Jefferson City bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.