Senators Urge the Governor to Suspend the Acceptance of Syrian Refugees Relocating to Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY — A St. Louis Circuit Court judge recently ruled that it’s not necessary to get voter approval for the use of taxpayer dollars on a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams. In response to this ruling and several other developments, Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, is voicing his concern over the governor’s proposed plan to use state-backed bonds to fund a portion of the estimated $1 billion project.

“By invalidating the city ordinance requiring a vote of the people to occur before public dollars can be used for a professional sports facility, the St. Louis Circuit Court removed an important safeguard and robbed St. Louis voters of their voice,” Sen. Wasson said. “In addition, the court’s ruling further opens the door to a funding plan that many state legislators and citizens oppose.”

By NFL standards, the 20-year-old Edward Jones Dome is highly outdated, which is why the Rams were eligible to convert their 30-year lease to a year-to-year lease after the 2014 season. This means the team could leave St. Louis as early as 2016, possibly heading for Los Angeles where Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed a $1.8 billion stadium.

As a result, the governor and the City of St. Louis have been working on a deal to build a brand new stadium: either to keep the Rams in St. Louis or to attract another NFL team should they choose to leave. Although a number of revenue sources would be used to fund the project, it‘s the governor’s plan to use state-backed bonds, without the Legislature’s approval, that has many Missouri lawmakers seeing red.

“It’s not a question of whether we want to keep the Rams in Missouri — of course we’d like them to stay. It’s a question of whether the governor can legally commit hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars without the Legislature’s consent,” said the senator. “According to the Missouri Constitution, he can’t. The power of the purse lies exclusively with the General Assembly.”

The governor’s office has stated it would be well within his authority to extend payments on the existing Edward Jones Dome in order to pay for a new stadium, while lawmakers have argued that the 1989 statute authorizing state debt for the Dome was never intended to be used to authorize additional debt for a second football stadium.

“I want to be clear that I’m in no way against the Rams organization, but I strongly believe that when it comes to spending taxpayer money, especially so large a sum, a vote by the people or the representation of the people should legally take place,” said Sen. Wasson. “To commit our taxpayers to another 30 years of debt without their permission is wrong.”

For more information on Sen. Wasson’s legislative actions, visit his official Senate website at