‘Missouri is back open for business’ Gov. Greitens touts success after legislative session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has only been in office for about five months, but he said Friday he believes his administration has gotten off to as good a start as any Republican governor in state history.

After the House tossed its papers at adjournment, Greitens said the message out of Jefferson City this year is Missouri is back open for business.

"We've taken on the lobbyists and liberals, the trial lawyers and union bosses, the insiders and special interests, to create more jobs with higher pay," Greitens said.

Greitens applauded the General Assembly for getting right-to-work to his desk this year, as well as several bills he believes will keep businesses from getting bogged down in the courtroom. One of those bills requires employees who sue for discrimination to prove it was the primary factor in their dismissal, and not just a contributing factor.

As far as higher pay is concerned, Greitens would not say Friday if he will sign a bill to nullify the minimum wage increase in St. Louis.

"We will sit down and do full and complete review of this bill and all of the implications that it will have for the people of Missouri," Greitens said.

Greitens came to Jefferson City with a promise to clean it up, but lawmakers did not send him any measures to limit gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers.

Some lawmakers have said Greitens is not "walking the walk," due to a non-profit called A New Missouri that advocates on his behalf and does not have to disclose its donors.

Greitens said he does not have anything to do with it.

"I'm very proud of the fact that we've got supporters and advocates all over the state of Missouri who are pushing for our agenda," Greitens said. "Career politicians will make a lot of excuses, but the fact is they can very easily vote to stop accepting gifts from lobbyists and i encourage them to do so."

Democrats were disappointed with the session, calling it unproductive. It is true lawmakers passed about half as many bills as they have in the past two sessions.

"The overarching theme was pro-business and anti-people," said House Minority Leader Gail McCann-Beatty, D-Kansas City. "Republicans voted to take pay away from hard-working people in St. Louis. The majority enacted several bills this year that did nothing less than tip the scales of justice in favor of the powerful and against the powerless."

McCann-Beatty said Democrats were pleased the budget sent to Greitens fully funds public schools, and avoids cuts to programs for the elderly and disabled that Greitens had proposed.

Greitens hinted he was not as pleased as he would like to be with the outcome of the session.

"Their work is certainly incomplete, and sometimes when you don't complete all of your work you need to go to summer school," Greitens said.

Greitens hinted several times at his post-session news conference he may call a special session. However, he did not offer specifics as to the issues he would like lawmakers to come back to the Capitol to address.