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Greitens, Missouri lawmakers to discuss utilities bills

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Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ Missouri House members are set to begin considering legislation as part of a special session called by Gov. Eric Greitens.

A House committee was to hear testimony Tuesday on bills allowing aluminum smelters and steel mills to negotiate lower electric rates than is allowed under current law. The proposals are meant to attract new manufacturing jobs to a poverty-stricken corner of southeast Missouri.

Some versions of legislation also would allow the state Public Service Commission to approve rates using expanded methods not outlined under current law.

Critics say that provision would give investor-owned utility companies broader discretion over rate changes for their customers.

Greitens plans to hold a rally later Tuesday at the Capitol to encourage lawmakers to pass the legislation.