Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, Sept. 16, 2013
An Historic Veto Session

Legislative News

Lawmakers returned to Jefferson City last week for our annual veto session, which began Wednesday at noon and ended sometime shortly before midnight the same day. It was by far the most highly anticipated and watched veto session during my time in the Capitol. Part of this was due to the quantity of bills vetoed by the governor, 29, a record for this administration.

Of those, the General Assembly ultimately overrode 10 bills, a historic number for the modern Legislature, including legislation that secures the future of the lead mining industry in Missouri and a measure that allows public officials to cast roll call votes via videoconference, which 35 other states already permit.

In addition, the Legislature voted to override the governor’s veto on:

  • House Bill 19, which appropriates $1 million for the reconstruction of the Lincoln-Pike Technical Career Center;
  • House Bill 278, which bars governments, both local and state, from restricting the celebration of federal holidays;
  • Legislation that modifies the law relating to funeral trusts, financial institutions, and exemptions under bankruptcy proceedings, among other provisions;
  • A measure that prohibits uninsured drivers from receiving noneconomic damages against insured drivers in lawsuits relating to motor vehicle accidents;
  • House Bill 1035, which allows cities to annex unincorporated areas by adopting an ordinance instead of needing a public vote;
  • A bill that establishes custody and visitation rights for deployed military personnel;
  • Senate Bill 9, which increases the penalties for cattle theft and regulates foreign ownership of land; and
  • Senate Bill 129, which grants protections to doctors who volunteer their time to provide medical services at no cost to patients.

These bills will now become law. Unfortunately, a number of other high-profile measures, including a tax relief bill that would have benefited every Missourian in the state, died in the House due to a lack of votes.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that just because legislation failed to become law doesn’t mean we haven’t made a lot of progress on some very large and complicated issues. It can take years to see measures of this magnitude pass. We will continue working on these critical priorities for Missouri next session in 2014.

District News

I wanted to share a great opportunity for local students to see a wonderful program about the Civil War that’s sponsored by the Secretary of State’s office. Next year, the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City will host a 40-minute interactive theatrical program called “Civil War Archives Alive!”, which shows students what life was like for Missourians during the 1860s and how the bloodiest war in American history affected citizens and soldiers on both sides. The show will be presented by the education performance group Second Chance Foundation.

After the show, students can tour the Missouri State Archives, where all of Missouri’s surviving historical documents are kept. I’ve toured the archives many times myself, and it never fails to amaze me how rich and varied the history of our state is. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity for students.

Performances and tours are free of charge and any fourth or fifth grade class in Missouri is invited to attend. The program will be held on the following dates at the Missouri Archives in Jefferson City, with performances scheduled each day at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.:

  • Thursday, March 13, 2014
  • Thursday, March 20, 2014
  • Thursday, April 3, 2014
  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
  • Tuesday, May 6, 2014
  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014
  • Thursday, May 15, 2014

I strongly encourage schools in our area to attend if possible. Missouri has a unique past, especially during the Civil War, when guerilla fighters like “Bloody Bill” Anderson fought “Jayhawks” up and down the Kansas/Missouri border (a legacy that lasts to this day, as seen in the famous rivalry between MU and KU), and outlaws like Jesse James became folk heroes.

The program requires a reservation. To RSVP, or for more information, contact the Secretary of State’s office at (573) 526-5296 or email Emily.luker@sos.mo.gov.

In addition, the Webb City Elks are currently holding an essay contest for fifth through eighth graders. The theme of this year’s contest is “What does Veterans Day mean to me?”. Applications are available through the organization. The Elks also provide local students with a variety of scholarship opportunities. For more information, contact (417) 673-3671.