Capitol Report 09/10/2015

Legislative Veto Session Approaches
As mandated by the Missouri Constitution, the General Assembly will meet Wednesday, September 16 to consider bills that were passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by the governor. The annual Veto Session gives legislators a final opportunity to enact their ideas into law despite the governor’s objections. In both chambers, a two-thirds vote is required to override a veto.

In 2015 the governor vetoed 12 House Bills, six Senate Bills, and had one line-item veto in an appropriations bill. The House and Senate will now consider the remaining bills with the override process starting in the House for House Bills, and in the Senate for Senate bills. For some historical perspective, the General Assembly overrode the governor’s vetoes on 10 bills and 47 budget line-items during last year’s Veto Session. These totals, plus the veto override completed during the 2015 session, push the total override count in state history to 93 with 44 of the overrides coming on vetoes of non-appropriations bills and 49 on budget line-items. Interestingly, 71 of the overrides have occurred during the current governor’s time in office.

During the 2015 Veto Session, the House took action to override the governor’s veto of legislation meant to reform the state’s system of unemployment. The bill is designed to strike a balance to ensure Missourians have access to unemployment benefits when they are out of work while also protecting Missouri’s job creators from excessive taxes and fees. The House then sent the bill to the Senate to complete the override motion, but the Senate was shut down by a filibuster in the final weeks and no action was taken. Now, leaders in both chambers believe the Senate can take up and approve this motion during the Veto Session..

The House and Senate also could consider an override motion on a piece of legislation commonly referred to as Right to Work. In effect, the bill gives workers in Missouri the right to decide whether to join a union. Specifically, it prohibits an employer from requiring a person to become a member of a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment.

Supporters of the bill say it is meant to make Missouri a more attractive location for new and existing job creators. They say it preserves the rights and freedoms of the individual to choose whether to join a union. Opponents say it is an attack on organized labor and a move that would lead to lower wages for workers. The House needs 109 votes to override the governor’s veto. The Senate needs 23. The bill passed during the legislative session with 92 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate.

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

Legislative Veto Session
As mandated by the Missouri Constitution, the General Assembly will meet Wednesday, September 16 to consider bills that were passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by the governor. The annual Veto Session gives legislators a final opportunity to enact their ideas into law despite the governor’s objections. In both chambers, a two-thirds vote is required to override a veto. In the House that amounts to 109 votes. Twenty-three votes are needed in the Senate to successfully complete an override motion.

In 2015 the governor vetoed 12 House Bills, six Senate Bills, and had one line-item veto in an appropriations bill. While the legislature was still in session, the House and Senate overrode the governor’s veto of legislation (SB 24) designed to reform Missouri’s system of welfare so that it does a better job of moving individuals out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. The House also approved a veto override motion for legislation meant to reform Missouri’s system of unemployment, but the Senate failed to act before the clock ran out on the session.

The House and Senate will now consider the remaining bills with the override process starting in the House for House Bills, and in the Senate for Senate bills. For some historical perspective, the General Assembly overrode the governor’s vetoes on 10 bills and 47 budget line-items during last year’s Veto Session. These totals, plus the veto override completed during the 2015 session, push the total override count in state history to 93 with 44 of the overrides coming on vetoes of non-appropriations bills and 49 on budget line-items. Interestingly, 71 of the overrides have occurred during the current governor’s time in office.

Unemployment Reform
During the 2015 Veto Session, the House took action to override the governor’s veto of HB 150 meant to reform the state’s system of unemployment. The bill is designed to strike a balance to ensure Missourians have access to unemployment benefits when they are out of work while also protecting Missouri’s job creators from excessive taxes and fees. The House then sent the bill to the Senate to complete the override motion, but the Senate was shut down by a filibuster in the final weeks and no action was taken. Now, leaders in both chambers believe the Senate can take up and approve this motion during the Veto Session.

The legislation is designed to make sure the state has enough money in its unemployment trust fund so that businesses don’t have to pay a penalty. Specifically, it would increase the minimum amount of money in the fund before employers’ contribution rates decrease.

The bill also ties unemployment benefits to the average unemployment rate so that more benefits are available when unemployment is high. If the state were in a position of high unemployment (9 percent or higher) benefits would be available for 20 weeks. In periods of low unemployment (lower than 6 percent) benefits would be available for 13 weeks.

Right to Work
The House and Senate also could consider an override motion on a piece of legislation commonly referred to as Right to Work.

In effect, the bill gives workers in Missouri the right to decide whether to join a union. Specifically, it prohibits an employer from requiring a person to become a member of a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment.

Supporters of the bill say it is meant to make Missouri a more attractive location for new and existing job creators. They say it preserves the rights and freedoms of the individual to choose whether to join a union. Opponents say it is an attack on organized labor and a move that would lead to lower wages for workers. The House needs 109 votes to override the governor’s veto. The Senate needs 23. The bill passed during the legislative session with 92 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate.
Other Potential Overrides
The legislature will likely move to override the governor’s veto of SB 224, which was approved by the House and Senate in an effort to ensure scholarship benefits through the state’s A+ Schools Program are received only by young people who are legal residents of the United States. The bill would require a student to be a United States citizen or a permanent resident in order to receive benefits.

The General Assembly also is likely to consider an override motion on HB 722, which was approved by the legislature to ensure Missourians continue to have the choice of paper or plastic bags at the grocery store.The bill specified that all merchants, itinerant vendors, and peddlers doing business in this state must have the option to provide customers with a paper or plastic bag for any item or good purchased. The bill also made it clear that a political subdivision cannot impose any ban, fee, or tax upon the use of paper or plastic bags. In addition, the bill contained language to prohibit municipalities from mandating a “living wage” above the state minimum wage and other rules related to employee benefits.

The other vetoed bills that could be considered during Veto Session include:

HB 63 – Exempts certain political races from provisions specifying how candidates must be nominated.

HB 326 – Specifies that each defined benefit pension plan must establish a board member education program.

HB 618 – Changes the laws regarding the disposition of human remains.

HB 629 – Changes the laws regarding public retirement systems.

HB 799 – Moves the 12th Division of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court from the City of Kansas City to the City of Independence.

HB 878 – Specifies that the Department of Public Safety must have the authority to commission corporate security advisors and establishes procedures to do so.

HB 1022 – Authorizes a return of premiums paid by insureds.

HB 1098 – Changes the laws regarding trust companies.

SB 20 – Creates a sales and use tax exemption for materials and utilities used by commercial laundries.

SB 67 – Authorizes certain court surcharges, Buchanan County to establish a county municipal court, certain circuits with a SORTS facility to appoint a court marshal, requires certain reporting regarding municipal courts and modifies procedure in landlord tenant cases.

SB 142 – Requires the Department of Natural Resources to take certain actions when submitting plans the Environmental Protection Agency.

SB 345 – Increases fees imposed by the Director of the Division of Finance.

Tax Amnesty
Missourians who owe back taxes now have the opportunity to pay their debts without penalties or interest thanks to a tax amnesty period approved by the General Assembly. The program began September 1 and runs through November 30.

The state revenue department estimates as many as 350,000 taxpayers could be eligible for the amnesty period and the state could generate as much as $75 million in revenue from the back taxes that are paid. The state has previously authorized tax amnesty periods that brought in approximately $74 million for fiscal year 2002 and $42 million for fiscal year 2003.

Anyone who makes use of the forgiveness procedures must agree to comply with tax laws and cannot use the same amnesty procedure again in future years. If they fail to comply, they will be charged the interest and other penalties that had been forgiven.

For more information, visit http://dor.mo.gov/amnesty.php

District Visits
During the interim season between legislative sessions, I have been attending several meetings with local organizations and businesses and making constituent visits. In the next few weeks I will be meeting with several more local businesses in District 120 including:

  • Meramec Instrument Transformers, Cuba—Sept. 14th at 10 AM
  • Sullivan Hospital—Sept. 21st at 10 AM
  • Crawford County Electric Co-Op, Bourbon—Sept. 28th at 10 AM
  • Crawford County Jail, Steelville—Oct. 5th at 10 AM

If you are a local business or organization and would like me to come visit your location, please email my legislator assistant, Dylan Bryant, at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

Special Events
Harvest Festival
Thursday, September 10th
7 PM – Harvest Festival Queen Pageant At Meramec Music Theatre. Admission Fee at Door. $5.00 Admission, Children 3 & Under Free

Friday, September 11th
“Experiments in Light” at Gallery Zeke Sponsored by the Steelville Arts Council. Featuring Photography from across Missouri. Open Friday & Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday—1 to 4 PM. Opening Reception is Saturday, September 12th, 3 to 5 PM. Free Admission and Open to the Public 11 AM – Steelville Chamber BBQ To pre-order, contact Peoples Bank- Steelville Office at 775-5901 or email bbq@peoplesbk.com. Chicken or Pork Steak Dinners Cost: $9.00 per meal. Delivery to Steelville & Cuba available. 8 PM – Rodeo at Ozark Trailblazers Arena Tickets available at area businesses or call 775-5111. Featuring Dusty & Rawhide and Whistle-Nut’ & Oley.

Saturday, September 12th
9 AM – Booths at Courthouse Contact Peggy Alexander at 775-2151. 11 AM – Bank Robbery Reenactment Downtown Steelville – Corner of Main & 2nd Street 1:30 PM – Parade on Main Street Forms available at FCNB and Peoples Bank. Parade Chair Becky Simpson at bsimpson@fcnb.com or 775-2151. Theme: Ride, Rope & Rodeo – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Ozark Trailblazers Rodeo. 8 PM – Rodeo at Ozark Trailblazers Arena

Sunday, September 13th
6 PM – Community Wide Church Service Hosted by the Steelville Ministerial Alliance At the Stage at the Steelville City Park. Music by The Tindall Family starts at 5:30 PM. Message by Pastor Matt Cook. Everyone is invited!

Grape & Fall Festival (Abridged Agenda)
Thursday, September 10th
1 PM – Fairgrounds open 3 PM – 10 PM Carnival Open 6 PM – Poultry & Rabbit Show – Show Arena 7 PM – Miss St. James Pageant – Community Hall

Friday, September 11th
12 PM – Fairgrounds Open 1:30 PM – Kids Games/Contests – Soccer Fields 3 PM Dog Show – 201 Matlock Dr. 5 PM Kids Power Wheels Derby – Arena   8 PM – Right Turn Clyde – Wine and Beer Garden

Saturday, September 12th
9 AM – Street Market on the Plaza – Downtown St. James 11 AM Parade – Downtown St. James 2 PM – Grape Stomp – Front Pavilion 6 PM – Carnival Opens 8 PM — Bella Donna – Wine and Beer Garden

For a complete agenda visit http://www.stjameschamber.net/#!schedule-of-events/cygr

MDC Hosts Ladies Free Fishing Day at Maramec Spring Trout Park
Location: Maramec Spring Trout Park near St. James
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 7:30 AM to 7:15 PM
Women of all ages will have a chance to trout fish for free at Maramec Spring Park. For more information, call (573) 265-7801 or on the web at http://www.mdc.mo.gov/2921

Discover Nature-Fishing
Location: Van Buren Library, 403 Ash Street, Van Buren
Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Discover Nature- Fishing Lessons 1 & 2. Equipment, Casting, proper fish handling, how to tie and knot and bait a hook. 1 hour of practicing casting with “backyard bass” on the library premises and fishing in the Current River. Adults must accompany their children at all times at the river.

Effective Wingshooting for the Hunter-Shotgunning
Location: Duck Creek Conservation Area
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
(EXPERIENCED SHOTGUN HUNTERS AGE 15 AND UP) The wingshooting seasons are just right around the corner. Are you ready? This intermediate program is designed to elevate the skills and knowledge of seasoned hunters. Participants will hear from experts on current wounding loss, ballistic properties of non-toxic shot, wingshooting, gun fit, and much more. Shooters will enjoy a full day of shooting FREE of charge. Participants must bring their own shotgun and chokes. Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. To register, please call the Southeast Regional Office at 573-290-5730. Reservations began 7/22.

Facts & Figures
Each week you can find an interesting fact or figure here about Missouri!

Our state bird, the native Bluebird, was designated on March 30, 1927. However, the state insect, the honey bee, did not buzz along until July 3, 1985.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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