Capitol Report 09/17/2015

Veto Session Comes to a Close
Over the next two weeks I would like to share with you the results of this year’s veto session. The annual Veto Session began Wednesday, September 16 at noon and by the time it was finished 12 hours later, the House and Senate had combined to override the governor’s vetoes on 10 pieces of legislation. Heading into the day, the legislature had successfully completed 94 veto overrides in the history of the state. Seventy-two of the overrides had occurred under the watch of the current governor. With Wednesday’s total added to the tally, the legislature has now successfully approved 104 overrides and Gov. Nixon has seen 82 of his vetoes overridden. The annual Veto Session is required by Article III, Section 32 of the Missouri Constitution, which calls for the General Assembly to convene each September to consider vetoed bills. Overrides have typically been rare in the state’s history because a successful motion requires two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers – 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House of Representatives. Override efforts begin in a given bill’s chamber of origin. If the originating chamber fails to override, the other chamber can take no action on it. The House began with 10 vetoed bills and one vetoed budget line-item to consider. The Senate began deliberations with six vetoed Senate bills to consider, as well as one override motion on HB 150 that had already been approved by the House during the regular session. When the work was done shortly after midnight this morning, the two chambers had combined to override vetoes on six House bills and four Senate bills.

Yesterday afternoon the House spent nearly two hours debating the bill before finally attempting the override motion. In front of packed galleries filled with both supporters and opponents of the bill, the House failed to approve the override motion by a vote of 96-63. The 96 votes fell 13 short of the number needed to override, but represented a gain of four votes from the 92 that originally approved the bill in the House during the regular session.

Also, during the 2015 regular session the Missouri House successfully completed an override motion on the governor’s veto of HB 150 that supporters say will keep Missouri’s system of unemployment financially stable. Because of a filibuster, the Senate was shut down in the final week of session and was unable to complete the override motion. Wednesday evening, members of the Senate finally completed the override to enact into a law a bill that will link unemployment benefits to the rate of unemployment, and ensure the state keeps more money in the unemployment trust fund. Again, next week, I will summarize the remaining veto session actions.

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

Veto Session Sees Bills Become Law
The annual Veto Session began Wednesday, September 16 at noon and by the time it was finished 12 hours later, the House and Senate had combined to override the governor’s vetoes on 10 pieces of legislation. Heading into the day, the legislature had successfully completed 94 veto overrides in the history of the state. Seventy-two of the overrides had occurred under the watch of the current governor. With Wednesday’s total added to the tally, the legislature has now successfully approved 104 overrides and Gov. Nixon has seen 82 of his vetoes overridden. The annual Veto Session is required by Article III, Section 32 of the Missouri Constitution, which calls for the General Assembly to convene each September to consider vetoed bills. Overrides have typically been rare in the state’s history because a successful motion requires two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers – 23 votes in the Senate and 109 in the House of Representatives. Override efforts begin in a given bill’s chamber of origin. If the originating chamber fails to override, the other chamber can take no action on it. The House began with 10 vetoed bills and one vetoed budget line-item to consider. The Senate began deliberations with six vetoed Senate bills to consider, as well as one override motion on HB 150 that had already been approved by the House during the regular session. When their work was done shortly after midnight Thursday morning, the two chambers had combined to override vetoes on six House bills and four Senate bills.

RTW Override Fails
During the 2015 regular session the House and Senate had worked together to send Right to Work legislation to the governor’s desk for the first time in the history of the state. The governor then vetoed the bill, which set up a much-discussed and much-anticipated vote to enact the bill into law despite the governor’s objections. Yesterday afternoon the House spent nearly two hours debating the bill before finally attempting the override motion. In front of packed galleries filled with both supporters and opponents of the bill, the House failed to approve the override motion by a vote of 96-63. The 96 votes fell 13 short of the number needed to override, but represented a gain of four votes from the 92 that originally approved the bill in the House during the regular session. In effect, the bill would have given workers in Missouri the right to decide whether to join a union. Specifically, it would have prohibited an employer from requiring a person to become a member of a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment. Supporters of the idea 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.

Unemployment Reform Succeeds
During the 2015 regular session the Missouri House successfully completed an override motion on the governor’s veto of legislation that supporters say will keep Missouri’s system of unemployment financially stable. Because of a filibuster, the Senate was shut down in the final week of session and was unable to complete the override motion. Wednesday evening, members of the Senate finally completed the override to enact into a law a bill that will link unemployment benefits to the rate of unemployment, and ensure the state keeps more money in the unemployment trust fund. Supporters of the bill say it is meant to protect the state’s unemployment system from insolvency in the event there is another economic downturn. Missouri is the only state that has been forced to borrow money from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits during each of the last five economic downturns. Borrowing federal dollars has the added negative impact of taking away a portion of a federal tax credit businesses normally receive. Opponents say the change will make it even more difficult for unemployed Missourians to obtain the financial support they need to pay their bills and keep food on the table. They say it will make the length of Missouri’s unemployment benefits one of the shortest in the nation. 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 will increase the minimum amount of money in the fund before employers’ contribution rates decrease. For example, Missouri businesses would see their contribution rates decrease by 12 percent if the fund has a balance greater than $870 million. 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. Supporters noted that a similar system is already in place in states like Georgia and Florida. They call the change an important step toward ensuring Missouri can afford to help its citizens during times when they are without work.

District Visits
During the interim season between legislative sessions, I have been attending several meetings with local organizations and businesses and making constituent visits. This week I had a great tour of Meramec Instrument Transformers in Cuba, and in the next few weeks I will be meeting with several more local businesses in District 120 including:

  • 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
  • LMI Aerospace, Cuba — Oct. 12th 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
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! The present Capitol completed in 1917 and occupied the following year is the third Capitol in Jefferson City and the sixth in Missouri history. The first seat of state government was housed in the Mansion House, Third and Vine Streets, St. Louis; the second was in the Missouri Hotel, Maine and Morgan Streets, also in St. Louis. St. Charles was designated as temporary capital of the state in 1821 and remained the seat of government until 1826 when Jefferson City became the permanent capital city.

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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