COMMENTARY

Governor’s actions on truly agreed bills

Guest columnistJuly 18, 2014 

Earlier this week, the governor completed the process of taking action on the bills passed this session by the General Assembly. The Legislature passed 211 pieces of legislation in the 2014 session. Six of those were joint resolutions, which will appear on the August or November ballot. Twenty-one were concurrent resolutions, which express the will of the Legislature, but do not change statutes. A total of 184 bills went to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The governor vetoed 33 legislative bills, the most he has ever vetoed and the second most in state history. He also used his line item veto power on all but two of the 15 appropriations (budget) bills. He allowed three bills to become law without his signature by taking no action. He signed the remaining 138 bills. The Legislature already took action and overrode one veto during session.

Here is a quick recap of the bills I sponsored or handled and the governor’s actions on these measures.

Senate Bills 509 & 496 provides a slow, reasoned and budget-protecting tax cut for individuals and small businesses, which is the first tax rate cut in over 90 years. The General Assembly passed SBs 509 & 496 and overrode the governor’s veto.

Senate Bill 510 changes the definition of “misconduct” as it relates to unemployment insurance claims. Any employee who is terminated through no fault of their own should get benefits. SB 510’s definitions will help make sure only those who qualify will get financial assistance. The governor let SB 510 take affect with no action.

Senate Bill 655 addresses landlord tenant issues. SB 655 redefines who is and who is not a lawful tenant, changes rules for eviction and helps protect landlords against people who damage property. SB 655 was signed by the governor.

Senate Bill 656 started as a simple bill to remove the requirement that applicants for a concealed carry (CCW) permit train and test with two different weapons. The House added several pro-Second Amendment provisions, including the creation of school protection officers and reaffirming Missouri’s open carry laws. The governor vetoed SB 656.

Senate Bill 662 requires the Department of Revenue (DOR) to notify applicable businesses on sales tax policy changes, and if it fails to do so, prohibits the department from going after back taxes. SB 662 was vetoed.

Senate Bill 829 shifts the burden of proof for large corporations and those who collect sales tax to DOR in tax disputes. It was unacceptable that those being targeted had to prove their innocence. SB 829 was vetoed by the governor.

Senate Bill 892 changes the date of Missouri’s presidential primary to March. The governor has signed SB 892 into law.

Senate Bill 991 was filed to allow law enforcement agencies to work with agencies across the border in the Kansas City metro area. While SB 991 never made it out of committee, similar language was amended onto Senate Bill 852, which passed the General Assembly. The governor signed SB 852.

House Bill 1125 allows deployed military members and disabled individuals to send a proxy and have a chance to be first on the ballot. HB 1125 was passed early in session, and was signed by the governor.

House Bill 1136 is a bill brought to me by county clerks and election board officials who handle elections. It had been 30 years since we “cleaned up” election statutes and this bill does just that. The governor has signed HB 1136.

House Bill 1261 clarifies the powers of the state auditor when it comes to Transportation Development Districts. It was a follow up to changes lawmakers made last session. The governor vetoes HB 1261.

House Bill 1296 allows businesses to advertise that they will pay your sales tax. The bill also contains a provision that allows multi-state service corporations to allocate their revenues in new ways for tax purposes, much like we did for manufacturers last year. The bill was vetoed by the governor.

House Bill 1372 clarifies Missouri’s law regulating protests at funerals. The current law was upheld by courts, but suggestions were made to make it clearer and those suggestions were included in this bill. The governor signed this bill.

House Bill 1455 is identical to SB 829, addressing the burden of proof language for taxpayers. It was also vetoed.

House Bill 1710 creates a check-off box on Missouri tax return forms for the Missouri National Guard Foundation Fund, a non-profit fund that helps the families of military members lost in action. The bill was signed.

House Bills 1735 & 1618 allow motorcycle sales on Sundays. Currently, dealerships in the Kansas City metro area have to compete with Kansas dealers who can sell on Sundays. HBs 1735 allows Missouri dealers to sell if they so choose. The governor signed HBs 1735 & 1618.

House Joint Resolution 90 sends an issue to the voters regarding an early voting period. Early voting would be allowed six business days before the General Election (November) ending the Wednesday prior to the election. This is a cost-effective and safe way to extend the convenience of voting. The governor has placed HJR 90 on the November 2014 ballot.

State Senator Will Kraus-R serves District Eight and is a resident of Lee’s Summit.

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