Because of continuing demonstrations and unrest in the Ferguson area over a grand jury’s decision not to indict local police Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting case, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will call a special session of the state General Assembly to secure “critical funding” for the National Guard and the state Highway Patrol, he said in a statement late Friday.
“Time is of the essence,” Nixon said. “It is vital that we act quickly so that we can fulfill our obligation to the men and women who are so bravely and capably serving their fellow citizens.”
Nixon told legislative leaders in a call Friday night immediate action is required to ensure National Guard members are paid Dec. 15, according to the statement. “This was a productive discussion,” the governor said of his call with legislative leaders. “It’s clear these legislators share our commitment to public safety and understand the need for prompt action.”
Basically, the state’s financial obligations related to emergency actions by the National Guard and the Highway Patrol are on track to exceed the amounts budgeted for those duties during the current fiscal year.
The budget previously OK’d by the Legislature included $4.0 million for costs associated with National Guard emergency duty and $3.4 million for expenses incurred by agencies such as the Highway Patrol via the State Emergency Management Agency for the period from July 1 of this year to June 30 of next year.
Nixon more than tripled the number of National Guard troops to 2,200 from 700 deployed in the St. Louis region this week.
“Unlike during prior emergencies, a special session is necessary for Ferguson-related obligations because the appropriations for the state’s emergency duty costs no longer include an ‘estimated’ designation,” the governor’s office said in the statement. “Without the estimated designation, the governor must ask the Legislature to appropriate additional amounts when needed.”