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Missouri State Rep. Jon Carpenter: Missouri Capitol Update: Veto Session

The state legislature convened this week to consider a number of bills that were vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. Overriding a governor’s veto requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. In Missouri, that comes to 109 ‘yes’ votes in the House, and 23 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate.

This year, 13 such vetoes were overridden, including several highly controversial measures. I’ve included a list of them below, along with links to and descriptions of the new laws.

VETO OVERRIDES

SB656 (Firearms)

Senate Override 24-6; House Override 112-41

Allows the carrying of concealed firearms without a permit or training and makes it easier to claim self-defense as a legal justification for using deadly force, along with various other changes to state gun laws.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill would undermine public safety by eliminating existing conceal-carry training requirements and allowing some people who would be ineligible for a permit under existing law to carry a concealed weapon.

SB1025 (Tax Breaks)

Senate Override 29-2; House Override 124-31

Exempts instructional classes, such as dance studios, martial arts studios, and gymnastics centers from from state and local sales taxes.

HB2030 (Taxation)

House Override 119-38; Senate Override 26-4

Creates a new capital gains income tax deduction for participants in employee stock ownership plans.

In his veto message, Nixon said numerous tax breaks are already offered to encourage employee stock ownership plans, and the bill would cost the state an estimated $10.3 million per year in lost revenue.

HB1763 (Workers Comp)

House Override 121-34; Senate Override 25-5

Changes state regulations regarding large-deductible workers’ compensation policies. In his veto message, Nixon said the bill contained drafting errors that rendered it ineffectual and created uncertainty and ambiguity in the law.

HB1631 (Photo Voter ID)

House Override 115-41; Senate Override 24-7

Requires Missourians to show government-issued photo identification in order to vote.

In his veto message, Nixon said in-person voter impersonation fraud – the only type of voter fraud a photo ID requirement can prevent – is extremely rare. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of Missourians currently lack a current state-issued photo ID, creating the potential for widespread disenfranchisement.

HB1414 (Farm Records)

House Override 111-46; Senate Override 23-7

Exempts certain agricultural data collected by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Natural Resources from public disclosure under the Sunshine Law.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill would impose an unnecessary “veil of secrecy” on a large and undefined number of government records without justifying the proposed limits on the public’s right to access official documents.

HB1432 (Administrative Leave)

House Override 113-42; Senate Override 23-7

Establishes hearing procedures for when state agencies or employees of local school districts place employees on administrative leave.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill would create “confusing, inconsistent or redundant procedures” when disciplining or terminating public employees that could result in costly litigation for state agencies and school boards.

HB1976 (Vehicle Service Contracts)

House Override 110-44; Senate Override 27-3

Changes laws governing towing company regulations and motor vehicle service contracts.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill eliminates an existing requirement that motor vehicle service contract providers give a full refund to customers who cancel a contract within 20 days and instead allow the company to credit the customer’s account.

SB844 (Livestock)

Senate Override 24-7; House Override 114-40

Grants owners of livestock immunity from liability over damages their animals may cause when trespassing on a neighboring property unless the victim can prove negligence by the owner.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill unfairly would leave the victims of property damage caused by trespassing animals with no recourse for obtaining compensation.

SB608 (Health Care)

Senate Override 24-7; House Override 110-45

Changes various provisions of law relating to health care.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill included a “cruel and punitive” provision that would impose new fees on Medicaid recipients for missing doctor’s appointments or visiting hospital emergency rooms for non-emergency matters. “Senate Bill No. 608 would needlessly punish our state’s most vulnerable citizens without improving access to care or bringing Missourians’ tax dollars back to Missouri.”

SB641 (Disaster Payments)

Senate Override 24-6; House Override 112-48

Creates an income tax deduction for payments received as part of a program that compensates agricultural producers for losses from a disaster or emergency.

In his veto message, Nixon said the bill would require the state to issue $51.5 million in retroactive tax refunds to certain agricultural producers for federal payments they had received dating to January 1, 2014. Nixon further said the legislature didn’t account for the revenue loss in the FY 2017 state budget.

SB994 (Alcohol)

Senate Override 24-6; House Override 116-34

Changes various provisions of law relating to alcohol.

In his veto message, Nixon said a provision of the bill authorizing the Missouri Wine and Grape Board to pay for attorneys to defend Missouri wine producers in court cases violates the state constitution’s prohibition on using taxpayer money for private purpose.

HB1713 (Water Systems)

House Override 111-46; Senate Override 25-5

Changes state laws relating to the regulation of water systems.

In his veto message, Nixon cited a provision of the bill that would allow a future governor to pack the 7 member Missouri Clean Water Commission with representatives from polluting industries. Existing law allows no more than 2 out of the 7 commissioners to be from affected industries. HB1713 would allow as many as 6 industry representatives on the commission. “This change would effectively pave the way for regulated interests to seize control of the commission.”

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