Website | E-Mail Me | Newsroom | Subscribe | Unsubscribe
2016 Fall Capitol Report Contact:
Janson Thomas—(573) 751-2420

Veto Session Recap

Missouri Voter Information

November Ballot Measures

Open Enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplace

Fall Conservation Events in the District

Halloween and Fall Festival Safety Tips

Veto Session Recap

Pictured above, Sen. Walsh discusses legislation on the Senate floor during the 2016 session.

The General Assembly convened for the annual veto session on Sept. 14. Although the Missouri Constitution gives state lawmakers 10 days to reconsider vetoed legislation, it took just 10 hours to override the governor on 13 vetoed bills. Unlike last year’s veto session, when I supported overriding three vetoed measures, I voted against all 10 of this year’s veto overrides. Ultimately, I did not feel any of these measures were right for our state or our citizens.

Among the 10 overrides were three measures I believe are particularly harmful to our state, our citizens and our safety. One of those was Senate Bill 656, which has expanded the scope of the Second Amendment far past anything that can be considered reasonable. Among other provisions, it legalized permitless concealed carry, which means Missourians will be able to carry a concealed weapon without first being required to obtain a permit as of Jan. 1, 2017. Perhaps most dangerously, it allows anyone who can legally have a firearm to carry a concealed firearm without any gun safety training whatsoever.

The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 608 was also overridden. Among other provisions, SB 608 permits Missouri’s Medicaid providers to charge participants a fee for missing appointments or for failing to cancel an appointment within 24 hours prior to the appointment. Many of the individuals who are on Medicaid do not have reliable transportation, depending instead on family and friends or public transportation for rides to and from their appointments. Not all Medicaid recipients can afford public transportation or are physically able to navigate public transportation without assistance. Senate Bill 608 does not take these realities of life into account. Although this measure contains several good provisions, I believe it will end up negatively affecting some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and that is why I could not support the override. Specifically,

Finally, legislation requiring Missouri voters to present a valid form of government-issued photo identification in order to vote in public elections was overridden. As part of a compromise with proponents of the measure, House Bill 1631 allows any registered voter without a valid photo ID to cast a regular ballot after signing a statement attesting to their identity. If no statement is signed, the voter can still vote provisionally. It also stipulates the state must pay for documentation for IDs in order to be in effect. Although I appreciate the majority party’s willingness to compromise, the facts remain that there has never been evidence of in-person voter fraud in Missouri, and HB 1631 will do nothing to prevent in-person voter fraud. Most importantly, voting is a fundamental right in this country and should be kept free of any unnecessary burdensome regulations. One important note about HB 1631: it will only become effective is Missouri voters approve House Joint Resolution 53, which will appear on the November ballot as Constitutional Amendment 6.

The governor provides an important check and balance when bad bills are passed by the Legislature. Unfortunately, I believe this year’s veto session was about politics and not policy, and I am disappointed with how things turned out. That being said, a new legislation session will be here soon and that means new opportunities to improve our state and to help the men, women and children who call Missouri home. The 2017 legislative session officially convenes on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Missouri Voter Information

Nov. 8 is right around the corner and that means it is almost time to head to the polls and exercise our constitutional right to vote. Below I have included some voter information from the secretary of state’s website and helpful links to make sure you will know when and where to go, and what you will need to bring, on Election Day.


Important: If you are in line at the closing time of 7 p.m. you have the right to cast your vote.


Check your voter registration here to find out where you are registered to vote and to find out where you vote.


  • ID issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state or a local election authority of the state;
  • ID issued by the United States government or agency thereof;
  • ID issued by an institution of higher education, including a university, college, or vocational and technical school, located within the state of Missouri;
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter; and
  • A driver's license or state ID card issued by another state.

If you do not possess any of these forms of identification, you may still cast a ballot if two supervising election judges, one from each major political party, attest they know you. View a sample list of acceptable forms of identification.

Voting with a Paper Ballot

Missouri no longer allows the "straight party" ticket option. You must mark your ballot individually for each candidate you choose.


  • Know how to properly use your voting equipment and cast your ballot.
  • Ask for a demonstration or assistance from an election judge if you need additional assistance
  • Read the instructions posted in your polling place.
  • Second Chance Voting — if you accidentally over-vote your ballot (mark more candidates for a race than to be elected), you will have the opportunity to correct your ballot.


Curbside Voting: Voters with limited mobility can vote "curbside" or outside the polling place. Just go to your polling place and ask someone to go in and ask poll workers to bring a ballot out to you. They should bring you a ballot within a reasonable period of time.

Accessible Polling Places: If you have physical disabilities, and your polling place is not accessible, you may request a different polling place assignment so that you may vote in a more accessible polling place. You may also vote at a central location. Simply contact your local election authority to make this request. You can find your local election authority here or by calling (800) NOW-VOTE.

Accessible Voting Systems: Every polling place must have an accessible voting system for individuals with disabilities including audiovisual accessibility. Accessible systems include an audio ballot to make your selections or the ability to enlarge text so that you can read the on-screen ballot with ease.

Permanent Absentee Voting: If you have a permanent physical disability, you may request to be placed on a designated list so that your local election authority can automatically mail an absentee ballot application directly to you prior to each election. You will need to make this request directly to your local election authority who will send you further information.


Registered Missourians who expect to be prevented from going to their polling place on Election Day may vote absentee beginning six weeks prior to an election. Absentee voters must provide one of the following reasons for voting absentee:

  1. Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote;
  2. Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability;
  3. Religious belief or practice;
  4. Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter's polling place;
  5. Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retained; or
  6. Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns.

Voters can request absentee ballots from their local election authority in person or by fax. Faxed absentee ballot requests should be submitted to the appropriate local election authority. Relatives within the second degree (spouse, parents and children) may complete an absentee ballot application, in person, on behalf of the voter who wishes to vote absentee. DO NOT SEND ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE. ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS MUST BE SENT TO THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITY BY THE DEADLINE IN ORDER TO BE VALID. Contact information for local election authorities and an absentee ballot application form may be found at the links below.

Mail in or faxed absentee ballot requests must be received by the election authority no later than the 5 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to any election. Voters can vote by absentee in the office of the local election authority until 5 p.m. the night before the election.

Voters requesting an absentee ballot by mail who have registered by mail and have not voted in person are required to submit a copy of their personal identification unless they provided a copy with their registration application. Examples of acceptable identification are:

  1. Identification issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state or a local election authority of the state;
  2. Identification issued by the United States government or agency thereof;
  3. Identification issued by an institution of higher education, including a university, college, or vocational and technical school, located within the state of Missouri;
  4. A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter;
  5. Driver’s license or state identification card issued by another state; or
  6. Other identification approved by the secretary of state under rules promulgated pursuant to subsection 3 of this section other identification approved by federal law.

This identification requirement, as well as the notary requirement for absentee ballots, does not apply to overseas voters, those on active military duty or members of their immediate family living with them or voters who are permanently disabled and their caregivers.

Additional information for military and overseas voters may be found at the section entitled Military and Overseas Voters.

For questions regarding elections in Missouri, contact the secretary of state’s office by calling (800) 669-8683.

November Ballot Measures

In addition to voting for the next president, governor of Missouri and a number of other congressional, statewide and local elected officials, you will also be asked to vote on the following ballot measures, which have been certified for the Nov. 8 ballot.

Constitutional Amendment 1

Constitutional Amendment 1 asks Missourians to decide if the state should continue its .01 percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation, state parks and historic sites for another 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system. This amendment will be resubmitted to the voters for approval in 10 years. If passed, this measure will not increase or decrease taxes.

The .01 percent tax was first approved by Missouri voters in 1984 and was reapproved in 1988, 1996 and 2006. It is the primary source of funding for the state park system, which includes 88 state parks and historic sites.

Constitutional Amendment 2

Constitutional Amendment 2 seeks to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office. It would also prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions and require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions. Finally, it would provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment.

For each election cycle, campaign contribution limits would be capped at $2,600 for individual candidates and $25,000 for political parties. It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $118,000 annually and have an unknown change in costs for local governmental entities. Any potential impact to revenues for state and local governmental entities is unknown. If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

Constitutional Amendment 3

Constitutional Amendment 3 seeks to raise Missouri’s current cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack to 60 cents per pack. The tax would increase incrementally each year through 2020, at which point it will total 60 cents per pack of 20. The amendment also creates a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes. Finally, it requires funds generated by these taxes and fees to be deposited into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund.

When cigarette tax increases are fully implemented, estimated additional revenue to state government is $263 million to $374 million annually, with limited estimated implementation costs. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown. If passed, this measure will increase taxes on cigarettes.

Currently, the national average for a pack of cigarettes is $1.65. Missouri’s tax on cigarettes has not been increased since 1993, when it was .13 cents.

Constitutional Amendment 4

Constitutional Amendment 4 would prohibit new state or local sales/use tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use tax as of Jan. 1, 2015. This includes services like haircuts and music lessons. Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant. The proposal’s passage would impact governmental entity’s ability to revise their tax structures. State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal. If passed, this measure will not increase or decrease taxes.

Constitutional Amendment 6

This amendment would change the Missouri Constitution so that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to present a valid form of identification in order to cast a ballot in public elections. The valid form of ID may include a government-issued photo ID such as a non-expired Missouri’s driver’s license or military ID.

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to state that voters may be required by law to verify their identity, citizenship and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification. Exceptions to this identification requirement may also be provided by law. A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding elections. If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

Proposition A

This proposition would amend Missouri law to:

  • increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019 and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20;
  • increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price;
  • use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects; and
  • repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot.

State government revenue will increase by approximately $95 million to $103 million annually when cigarette and tobacco tax increases are fully implemented, with the new revenue earmarked for transportation infrastructure. Local government revenues could decrease approximately $3 million annually due to decreased cigarette and tobacco sales. If passed, this measure will increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Open Enrollment in Health Insurance Marketplace

The open enrollment period for 2017 health coverage will run from Nov. 1, 2016, through Jan. 31, 2017. There are several ways to learn more about the Affordable Care Act or the federal Health Insurance Marketplace:

You may also visit my Senate Health Care Reform Resource Center for additional information and links to helpful websites.

Fall Conservation Events in the District

Fall Conservation Events

Several upcoming events are being hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and constituents are encouraged to take advantage of these fun and free opportunities located in the 13th  Senatorial District. All events will be held at the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Reservations can be made any time Wed.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (314) 877-6014.

Hunter’s Moon Hayride

When: Oct. 20 and 21, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Who: All ages

Join the conservation department for a hayride under the waning hunter’s moon. The night comes alive with the sights and sounds of Columbia Bottom’s night life residents. Rides will require a reservation and will leave the visitor center at 5:30, 5:45, 7:15 and 7:30. Call for handicapped accessible ride information. Reserve by Oct. 19 for the Oct. 20 hayride and by Oct. 20 for the Oct. 21 hayride.

Dutch Oven Cooking

When: Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Who: All ages

The conservation department invites families to explore the basics of this timeless outdoor skill. If you bring the interest and enthusiasm, they will bring the fixins and the knowhow. Reservations will be taken from Oct. 22 through Nov. 5.

Super-Moonlight at the Confluence

When: Nov. 13, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Who: All ages

Watch the full Beaver moon rise over the Confluence. Stroll beneath the light of a Supermoon while looking and listening for Night Shift creatures. Meet at parking lot N — about 4 ¾ miles from the front entrance. Reservations begin Oct. 26.

Fall Flying Milkweed

When: Nov. 22, noon to 2 p.m.
Who: Ages 8 and up

Help save the Monarch butterfly one day and seed at a time. You will learn about monarchs and milkweed and then paint your own outdoor craft to rival the colors of fall and give a milkweed seed a home. Reservations begin Oct. 19.

Halloween and Fall Festival Safety Tips

Fall is officially in full swing, which means Halloween and harvest festivals are right around the corner. This is such a fun and exciting time of year for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties and eat lots of yummy treats. Check out these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help make this Halloween’s festivities fun and safe for your whole family, trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

  • Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.
  • Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.


Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

  • Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters, such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables and cheeses.
  • Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
  • Keep candle-lit jack o'lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.