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Pruitt-Igoe’s William Igoe Died 65 Years Ago; St. Louis Board of Aldermen Started New Session This Week

April 20, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured, History/Preservation No Comments
St. Louis City Hall

Sixty five years ago today the person for whom the intended white section of failed Pruitt-Igoe public housing project was named died at age 73:

William Leo Igoe (October 19, 1879 – April 20, 1953) was a United States Representative from Missouri.

Igoe was born in St. Louis to Irish immigrants. He attended the public and parochial schools of St. Louis and graduated from the law school of Washington University in St. Louis in 1902. He was admitted to the bar in the same year and commenced the practice of law in St. Louis. He was a member of the municipal assembly of St. Louis from 1909 until March 3, 1913, when he resigned to enter the United States Congress.

Igoe was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-third and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1921). On April 6, 1917, he joined 49 other representatives in voting against declaring war on Germany. He declined to become a candidate for renomination in 1920. He resumed the practice of law and was an unsuccessful Democratic nominee for mayor of St. Louis in 1925. He was chairman of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners 1933–1937. He died in St. Louis on April 20, 1953 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery. (Wikipedia)

You can see his photo on FindAGrave.

At the beginning of this week the St. Louis Board of Aldermen formerly ended their previous session and began a new session the following day. The 2017-2018 session ended on Monday, the 2018-2019 session began on Tuesday. No legislation was introduced — expect quite a bit a week from today when regular 10am Friday meetings resume. As I’ve done in the past, new Board Bills will be listed the day they’re introduced.

Since a new session is starting, this is a good opportunity to review the how a board bill becomes an ordinance:

Workflow
When it comes to passingBoard Bills, the Board of Aldermen agenda is broken down into four basic parts.

  1. First Reading of Board Bills/Referenceto Committee
  2. Second Reading of Board Bills
  3. Perfection of Board Bills
  4. Third Reading/Final Passage of Board Bills

Introduction of Board Bills
Each Friday, Bills are introduced (first read) during the Board of Aldermen meeting. The meetings are held at 10 A.M. in Room 230. The President then assigns each bill to one of 15 committees.

Committee Hearings
It is up to the chairman of each committee to schedule hearings to review any Bills that have been introduced and assigned.

During the committee hearing, an alderman will present a Bill to the committee members, discuss its merits and ask that it be sent to the full Board of Aldermen with a “do pass” recommendation. Sometimes, the committee will make changes to the Bill before sending it back to the floor. These changes are called Committee Substitutes or Amendments.

If a sponsor senses that a Bill lacks sufficient support, the sponsor may ask that it remain in committee while changes are drafted. Although rare, sometimes a Bill will remain in committee until the end of the session, at which time the Bill “dies.”

Second Reading
Once a bill has been passed out of committee, it is then ready for Second Reading at the next Board of Aldermen meeting.
There is no discussion of the bill during Second Reading – it’s simply read out loud.

Perfection
The following week, the bill appears on the Perfection Calendar. This is when the sponsor may stand up and explain to the full Board what the Bill is and ask for support. On controversial Bills, there is often a long and lively debate. This is also the time to make any final changes to the Bill (Floor Substitute).

It takes a majority of the aldermen present to vote in favor of perfecting a bill and move to Final Passage. (All votes at the Board require a majority of the aldermen present except on Final Passage, which requires a total of 15 “yes” votes regardless of how many aldermen are present at the meeting. Bills regarding the sale of City-owned land require 20 “yes” votes.)

Third Reading/Final Passage
One week after Perfection, the Bill will appear on Third Reading/Final Passage. No more changes can be made to a Bill at this point. Each alderman can either vote “yes” or “no.” It takes 15 “yes” votes to finally pass a Bill and send it to the Mayor’s desk.

There is a procedure by which a Bill can move more quickly through the process. After Second Reading or after Perfection an alderman may ask to suspend the rules and have the bill moved to the next section on the agenda during the same meeting. 

Timeline
First Reading = 1st week.
Passed out of committee and Second Reading = 2nd week
Perfection (suspend the rules and obtain Third Reading/Final Passage) = 3rd week
The quickest a Bill can go from First Reading to Final Passage is three weeks at a minimum.  It is not unusual, however, for the process to take longer.  It could be several weeks before the Bill gets a committee hearing, which would slow down the process.

The sponsor may ask that a Bill be held in committee while changes are drafted, which will also slow down the process. 

The best thing to do is to follow the weekly agenda. If the Bill you’re looking for does not appear on Second Reading, Perfection or Third Reading, then you know the sponsor must be holding it in committee for some reason or the Bill is still waiting for a hearing.

The above is from the About Board Bills page. In the meantime you can review votes on bills from last session here.  For example you can see who defeated a bill to create a buffer zone at abortion providers.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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