Earlier this month, the General Assembly met to consider overrides on the governor’s nearly 30 vetoes. Normally, the veto session is an afterthought, with little to no actual work. This year, two high-profile bills and several other important pieces of legislation were debated one final time. In the end, the governor’s veto stood on the two most talked about bills: tax cut legislation and a gun bill dubbed the Second Amendment Protection Act.
The General Assembly did, however, override 10 of the governor’s vetoes, a new modern day record. The bills ranged from protections for celebrating holidays, to cracking down on uninsured motorists, to protecting good Samaritans from frivolous lawsuits. While most of the 10 bills were not controversial during regular session, the veto sessions’ votes fell largely, but not entirely, along party lines. These are the 10 bills that will now take effect per the effective dates in the legislation.
SB 9 – (Pearce) – Modifies provisions relating to agriculture, such as strengthening crimes against livestock theft and prohibiting foreign businesses from owning certain agricultural land.
SB 110 – (Brown) – Establishes procedures to follow in child custody and visitation cases for military personnel.
SB 129 – (Sater) – Establishes the Volunteer Health Services Act to allow for licensed health care professionals to provide volunteer services for a sponsoring organization.
SB 170 – (Chappelle-Nadal) – Allows members of public governmental bodies to cast roll call votes in a meeting if the member is participating via videoconferencing.
HB19 – (Stream) – Appropriates money for capital improvement projects.
HB 278 – (Brattin) – Prohibits any state or local governmental entity; public building, park, or school; or public setting or place from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.
HB 339 – (Wieland) – Requires uninsured motorists to forfeit recovery of noneconomic damages under certain circumstances.
HB 329 – (Dugger) – Changes the laws regarding certain residential real estate loan violations.
HB 650 – (Ross) – Addresses health-related claims against companies that own underground mining operations.
HB 1035 – (Smith) – Changes the laws regarding amended property tax rate filings with the Office of the State Auditor and repeals the expiration date of the provision requiring certain counties and the City of St. Louis to deduct a percentage of property taxes collections for assessment costs.
Both the House and Senate were in session for most of the day and into the evening in what may have been the longest veto session on record.
For those bills where the governor’s veto did stand, we will go back to the table and try again in 2014. It is not at all unusual for complex bills to take two or more years to be finally passed and signed. A good example is Senate Bill 1, a bill dealing with workers’ compensation and the Second Injury Fund which was passed and signed this year after several years of trying and multiple vetoes by the governor. Often it takes the actual process of filing, hearing and debating a bill to find the right wording, the right policy and the right compromises.
The governor’s office and members of the education community have already reached out to begin discussions on tax relief legislation for 2014. We started a serious discussion on tax policy this year with Senate Bill 26 and House Bill 253 — a discussion at levels not seen here in decades. I think all parties see the momentum for some type of tax policy changes. Our overall tax structure may have worked fine over the years, but as times change, as economic development changes, it is critical that we revisit how our taxes are affecting businesses and residents in Missouri. I look forward to sitting down with any interested party, as I did last session, to come up with a workable and meaningful tax policy bill.
State Senator Will Kraus-R serves District Eight and is a resident of Lees Summit.