This Week’s Legislative Column from Senator Mike Cunningham

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Successful Veto Session

This week lawmakers returned to Jefferson City for veto session. After nine hours of debate we adjourned having overridden 13 of the governor’s vetoes. Several key pieces of legislation caused some heated debate, but in the end we got a lot of work accomplished.

In total 13 vetoes were overridden. Two of the most hotly debated, Voter ID and Senate Bill 656, legislation eliminating required permits to conceal and carry a weapon, kept both chambers busy for hours.  Eventually the motion of a previous question was called, forcing the vote. Both measures were overridden. Voter Id will appear on the November ballots as House Joint Resolution 53.

If voters approve House Joint Resolution 53, the new ID requirements will not take effect until 2017. In Missouri, voters without a photo ID can still vote if they sign an affidavit stating they do not have any type of identification. However, election officials can take their picture, and steps must be taken to get a photo ID for later use, with the state covering the cost.

The Legislature also voted to override a veto on Senate Bill 656, which eliminates requirements to have a permit before carrying a concealed weapon.  Under the bill, Missouri residents could also use deadly force in a public space if they perceive a threat. The bill allows law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families. It also means Missouri will join 10 other states with laws that allow most people to carry concealed guns without the training required for permits, and allows people to carry hidden guns anywhere they can currently carry weapons openly.  The law takes effect in 30 days. My office received 487 calls, emails and letters requesting that I vote to override the Governor’s veto on this bill.  By comparison, I received only 27 requests from constituents asking that I vote to sustain the veto.

The veto of Senate Bill 641 was also overridden, by a vote of 24-6 in the Senate and 112-38 in the House. This legislation will transfer money from the state to farmers and agricultural producers. The bill will become law in 30 days. Two years ago farmers were given millions of dollars in disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following a drought, but were forced to pay state taxes on the funds received.  Now with the veto override, future disaster relief will not be taxed by the state.   Only in agriculture is a disaster considered a taxable event.

Also overridden by the Legislature:

  • Senate Bill 608 – modifying provisions relating to health care
  • Senate Bill 844 – modifying provisions relating to livestock trespass liability
  • Senate Bill 994 – modifying provisions relating to alcohol
  • Senate Bill 1025 – exempting instructional classes from sales tax
  • House Bill 1414 – exempting data collected by state agencies under the federal Animal Disease Traceability Program from disclosure under Missouri’s sunshine law
  • House Bill 1432 – requiring a hearing to be held within 60 days if a state employee is placed on administrative leave
  • House Bill 1713 – requiring the Department of Natural Resources to provide information regarding advanced technologies to upgrade existing lagoon-based wastewater systems to meet any new or existing discharge requirements
  • House Bill 1763 – changing the laws regarding workers’ compensation large deductible policies issued by an insurer
  • House Bill 1976 – changes the laws regarding service contracts
  • House Bill 2030 – authorizing a tax deduction equal to fifty percent of the capital gain resulting from the sale of employer securities to certain Missouri stock ownership plans

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.