- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have not yet reached a decision on whether to withhold bills from Republican Gov. Eric Greitens as he faces two felony charges and an investigation by a special House committee that could lead to his impeachment.

GOP Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and Democratic Minority Floor Leader Gina Walsh floated the idea last week of keeping bills that passed both chambers from the embattled governor’s desk.

“He can’t sign ‘em unless I sign ‘em,” Richard said at the time.

Walsh has said she didn’t want the governor to essentially be able to hold lawmakers’ bills hostage when those same lawmakers might soon have to decide whether to remove Greitens from office.

Leaders in the House and Senate must sign bills before they can be approved or vetoed by a governor. Their signatures generally are a formality.

It is, however, normal for there to be a delay between a final vote in the Legislature and a bill’s arrival on the governor’s desk.

A spokeswoman for Richard said none of the bills that recently passed the Legislature had yet been printed or delivered for Richard’s signature, a process that can take weeks. A spokesman for Walsh said the senators would likely revisit the issue once the bills had been delivered.

If there is a holdup, it will only be on the Senate side. A spokesman for Speaker of the House Todd Richardson said the Republican lawmaker did not intend to withhold his signature from bills.

Twelve bills had been passed by the Legislature as of Thursday morning that could be affected by a holdup. One measure would potentially reduce the time candidates had to qualify for special elections and another would expand what degrees community colleges can offer.

Two measures were signed into law earlier this year. One requires posters with information about human trafficking to be displayed around the state and the other was a supplemental spending bill that modified the state budget.

Even once bills are signed by the governor, they normally do not take effect immediately.

Lawmakers technically have until May 30 to send bills to the governor, although May 18 is the last day for bills to be considered.


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