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Representative Jon Carpenter: 2015 Veto Session Capitol Report

State Representative Jon CarpenterRepresentative Jon Carpenter represents parts of the Kansas City Northland, Gladstone, and the Oaks Villages. He is also the Minority Caucus Vice-Chair. This is his September 18 newsletter. You can follow Carpenter on Facebook. For more information on our Opinion Section please click here.

A Word From Jon

The Missouri legislature met this week to consider more than a dozen bills vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. Many of the vetoes – though not all – were overturned, meaning they will officially become law in 30 days.

A successful override requires the support of a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers – that’s 23 votes in the Senate, and 109 in the House of Representatives.

I’ve included updates below. As always, thanks for reading.

House Sustains Veto On Right-To-Work Bill

A bipartisan coalition in the Missouri House defeated efforts to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of controversial legislation that sought to make Missouri a right-to-work state. The House of Representatives sustained the veto on a vote of 96-63-1, falling 13 “yes” votes short of the 109 needed for an override.

HB116 would have made it a crime for companies to negotiate labor contracts with unions that require employees to pay dues for the union representation they receive. Requiring such “fair share fees” is a common practice under labor deals.

When the House originally passed the bill last May, the vote count was 17 short of the required two-thirds super-majority needed to override the veto – meaning 17 legislators would need to flip their vote for right-to-work to pass. They ended up with a net gain of four, as five lawmakers switched to “yes” and one switched to “no.”

Legislative Overrides 10 Bills Vetoed By Governor

HB150 – Unemployment Insurance (Fitzpatrick)

Cuts the maximum number of weeks a person can collect unemployment insurance benefits to half the amount used by most other states. HB150 was vetoed by the Governor during regular session, and the House rejected the veto at that time. This week the Senate joined the House in overriding the veto.

Before this legislation, Missourians who lose their job could receive a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits, which is already the fifth lowest in the nation. Only those workers who are laid off are eligible – those who are fired for cause are not. Currently, 42 other states allow for 26 or more weeks of unemployment insurance. HB150 cuts Missouri’s maximum down from 20 to just 13 weeks as long as the unemployment rate remains low.

The override passed in the House 109-53, with every House Democrat and 9 House Republicans voting No. The veto override passed in the Senate 24-8.

HB722 – Minimum Wage/ Local Control (Shaul)

HB722 prohibits Missouri cities from setting a living wage that is higher than the state minimum wage of $7.65 an hour. Additionally, it prohibits cities from passing employee benefit laws, such as those providing for maternity or sick leave. It also prohibits municipalities from adopting local ordinances restricting the use of plastic bags by retailers.

The bill has clear implications for cities like Kansas City and St. Louis which are seeking to increase their minimum wage beyond the $7.65 state minimum. HB722 would overrule the decision of city councils, and it would also overrule a direct vote of the people through the ballot initiative process.

The veto override passed in the House 114-46, with every House Democrat and 3 House Republicans voting No. The veto override passed in the Senate 23-9.

HB1022 – Insurance (Gosen)

House Override: 122-38
Senate Override: 29-3

HB1098 – Trust Companies (Crawford)

House Override: 118-42
Senate Override: 26-6

HB878 – Corporate Security (Rhoads)

House Override: 115-40-2
Senate Override: 26-6

SB20 – Tax Exemptions for Commerical Laundries (Kraus)

Senate Override: 28-4
House Override: 110-46

SB224 – Citizenship Requirements for A+ Schools Program (Romine)

Senate Override: 24-8
House Override: 114-37

SB142 – DNR Actions (Romine)

Senate Override: 28-4
House Override: 114-39

SB345 – Lending Fees (Wasson)

Senate Override: 26-6
House Override: 114-37

Senate Elects New Leaders

On September 16, the Senate unanimously elected state Senator Ron Richard (R-Joplin) as President Pro Tem, the chamber’s top leadership position. Richard becomes the first person in Missouri history to serve as both Senate President Pro Tem and Speaker of the state House of Representatives, a post he held from 2009 to 2011.
Since January, Richard had served as Senate majority leader, a post that determines what bills the chamber takes up for debate. With his elevation, Senate Republicans selected state Senator Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) as his replacement.
The shuffle in Senate leadership was triggered in August when previous Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, (R-St. Peters), unexpectedly resigned to take a job with a political group [Gate Way Group] funded by Missouri’s biggest political donor, billionaire Rex Sinquefield.
In the News
I spoke on the House floor on several bills, including HB722 which prohibits cities from setting a minimum wage higher than the state’s, among other local control issues. Below is some news coverage on the debate:
“Representative Jon Carpenter (D-Kansas City) asked his fellow House members to remember the bill would not just tell city officials they could not set a greater minimum wage, but citizens as well…” (Missourinet)

“This bill is by far the most anti-local control bill passed by this chamber in years,” said Rep.Jon Carpenter, a Gladstone Democrat…” (Kansas City Star)

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