The Missouri House and Senate voted on a number of heated issues this week.
House Bill 253
The most talked-about issue of this legislative session is House Bill 253. The controversial measure called for a half a percent income tax cut, gradually implemented over ten years. It passed the General Assembly, but Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill in June.
Representative T.J. Berry, of Kearney, introduced the bill, which gave him the power to bring it up for a vote during Wednesday’s veto session.
Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Berry:
The measure required a two-thirds vote to pass, but failed to make it past the House.
The Bill would have reduced income taxes for both businesses and individuals by a half a percent over ten years. Republican leaders claimed the legislation would help businesses compete with neighboring states, such as Kansas. In his veto letter, Governor Nixon called the measure a “fiscally irresponsible experiment,” claiming it would have reduced funding to schools and health services.
109 votes were needed for the legislation to move on to the Senate. 94 Representatives voted in favor, and 67 voted against the measure. Fifteen Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the veto override.
House Bill 436 failed to pass by just one vote. The legislation declared that all federal laws that infringe on Second Amendment Rights would be invalid in Missouri. Any federal authorities who tried to enforce federal firearms laws would be subject to charges. Similar charges could also be brought against anyone who publishes the name or other identifying information of a gun owner.
The measure would have also lowered the age to obtain a concealed gun permit in Missouri to 19. It currently stands at 21. Those who hold concealed gun permits would have been able to openly carry certain firearms, even in municipalities with local ordinances prohibiting the practice.
The measure gave schools the option of designating a “school protection officer.” This would be a teacher or administrator who undergoes training, and is then authorized to carry a concealed weapon on school property at all times.
The measure made it through the house with 109 votes, the minimum required for a 2/3rds majority. 49 representatives voted against House Bill 436. The measure narrowly failed in the Senate. 23 votes were needed to override Governor Nixon’s veto, and 22 voted in favor.
Senate Bill 9
The Missouri General Assembly approved an override of the Governor’s veto on a piece of agricultural legislation. The underlying part of Senate Bill 9 was creating extension districts, but that passed in another bill.
The Missouri Senator from Warrensburg introduced Senate Bill 9, which means it was his decision on whether to call for a vote during Wednesday’s veto session. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with David Pearce:
The bill reduced potential charges for any livestock owners, should their animals escape. It also changed the limitation of foreign ownership of state farmland from a half a percent to one percent. Nixon cited this wording in his veto letter, saying it needed more careful consideration.
The escaped livestock wording was submitted by Representative Joe Don McGaugh, of Carrollton. Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with McGaugh:
The Bill needed 23 votes for an override in the Senate, and it received 23. It then went on to the House, where 109 were required, and it went through with 111 votes.
One item up for consideration during the General Assembly’s annual veto session was House Bill 301. This piece of legislation would have relaxed requirements on people found guilty of sex offenses while juveniles. Those convicted while still under the age of 18 would have been removed from public lists of sex offenders. These people could also have eventually been taken off the list of registered sex offenders kept by police.
Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the measure because it could have potentially hidden the whereabouts of violent offenders.
It was briefly discussed on the House floor Wednesday afternoon. Many lawmakers agree the sex offender registry needs a change, but claimed House Bill 301 was not the answer.
The motion to override Nixon’s decision was withdrawn, and the veto remains in place.
The Missouri House and Senate met for their annual veto session this week. House Bill 339 was one item of discussion. The “No Pay, No Play” legislation restricts lawsuits by uninsured motorists.
Under the measure, drivers without insurance forfeit the ability to collect noneconomic damages from insured drivers. Supporters say this prevents uninsured motorists from driving up the cost for the system. Opponents note penalties for driving without insurance already exist.
Governor Jay Nixon vetoed House Bill 339 in July, saying it was “riddled with ambiguity.”
Representatives discussed the legislation on Wednesday, and approved an override of the veto by the minimum requirement of 109 votes. It passed the required mark in the Senate, moving forward with 26 ‘ayes.”
House Bill 278 prohibits any state or local governmental entity from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.
Supporters claim the bill say is aimed at protecting traditional celebrations of Christmas and Thanksgiving, which they claim are being secularized in some schools.
But Governor Jay Nixon said the measure also could prevent officials from enforcing fireworks ordinances and create staffing shortages by potentially allowing state workers to demand time off to celebrate federal holidays. He nixed the bill in July.
The House and Senate voted to override that veto during Wednesday’s session. It passed the House with 114 ayes, and made it through the Senate with 24.