Back to School, Back to the Legislature
The final days of summer are upon us, and it seemed like just yesterday school was letting out and the warmer weather was here to stay. But in the blink of an eye, students are already heading back to class and much of the scorching temperatures are behind us for another year. As students gear back up to continue their studies, members of the Missouri General Assembly will be returning to Jefferson City for the annual veto session and an extraordinary session to run concurrently.
Veto session is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11. This session allows the General Assembly to reconsider any bills vetoed by the governor from the previous session. This summer, the governor vetoed six bills out of the nearly 100 pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session. These include:
- Senate Bill 147 which contained a partial repeal of the state’s helmet law for motorcyclists.
- Senate Bill 202 dealing with mining royalties on federal land, which the governor vetoed citing a conflict with federal law.
- Senate Bill 282 and House Bill 447 dealt with the disposition of human remains and coroners respectively. Both were vetoed for containing provisions allowing for outdoor cremations, also known as “Viking funerals.”
- Senate Bill 414 which created a taskforce seeking a waiver to change the Affordable Care Act. Without an emergency clause allowing the taskforce to immediately go to work, the governor did not believe it would have enough time to conduct its work. He has since created the taskforce through an executive order.
- House Bill 399 was vetoed due to additional requirements and restrictions to the Department of Health and Senior Services director position. Much of the bill’s other provisions were passed in other bills and signed into law.
The General Assembly can take up any of these bills and attempt to overturn the governor’s veto. If both chambers agree, the legislation will become law, otherwise it will remained vetoed. I do not anticipate the General Assembly overriding the governor’s actions on any of these bills.
Additionally, the governor announced on Aug. 21 that he was calling the General Assembly back for an extraordinary session to address a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision regarding vehicle tax credits. In June, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled only one vehicle could be sold and used as a credit to offset the sales tax for a new vehicle. Previously, it was thought the existing state statute allowed multiple vehicles to be used to offset the sales tax for a new vehicle. Two differing rulings by the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) only added confusion to this matter and spurred the Supreme Court’s ruling. The governor called on the General Assembly to clarify this issue and help save Missourians some of their hard earned money. This will also allow the Missouri Senate to consider appointments to Missouri’s various boards and commissions. The extraordinary session is slated to begin on Sept. 9 and run concurrently with the General Assembly’s annual veto session. You can see, there are several important issues for the General Assembly to consider in the coming weeks, and I look forward to getting back to work.
Lastly, I wanted to make you aware that the Missouri Humanities (MH) has announced its second initiative to expand its African American Heritage partnerships and programmatic reach. MH is inviting organizations across the state to apply for funding assistance for African American Heritage programs during the 2020 calendar year that increases our understanding of the African American experience through public programming in the humanities. For funding guidelines and an application, please visit https://www.mohumanities.org/african-american-heritage/. The application deadline is Oct. 15, 2019, with award notification expected by Dec. 14, 2019.
Please feel free to contact my office in Jefferson City at (573) 751-1464. For information about committees or sponsored legislation for the 2019 session, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Cierpiot.