The Capitol Report | October 20th, 2016

Military Strategic Plan & Unemployment Reform

Last year, HB 1070, sponsored by Representative Charlie Davis, was passed into law and established the Office of the Missouri Military Advocate. Now, the newly formed office, in collaboration with the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission and the Hawthorn Foundation, has just successfully wrapped up four public meetings held across the state. These meetings were specifically designed to gather public thoughts and expert opinions on how Missouri can best prepare for the uncertain future affecting our military bases, defense agencies, defense procurement businesses, and defense-related research and innovation. These meetings are surely only the first of many to come in continuing to ensure Missouri remains one of the most innovative and military friendly states in the country. During the 2015 session, the Missouri General Assembly also approved legislation to reform the state’s system of unemployment. The legislation was intended to bring financial stability to the system, which went insolvent after the 2008 economic downturn. Its primary provisions acted to link unemployment benefits to the rate of unemployment, and ensure the state keeps more money in the unemployment trust fund.

Shortly after the legislature acted, the governor vetoed the legislation to prevent it from becoming law. However, the House, and then later the Senate, completed a veto override motion. The bill then went into effect as law and Missouri reformed its system of unemployment as the legislature intended. Recently, however, the reforms were struck down when the Missouri Supreme Court decided the veto override was invalid based on procedure technicalities regarding the timing of the veto override. The decision drew immediate criticism from legislative leaders who pledged to revisit the issue when the legislature convenes for the 2017 session in January. Members from both chambers have pointed out that the state will have a new governor when the legislature meets again, and many are hopeful the state will have a leader who will work with House and Senate members to fix the state’s system of unemployment so that it can remain solvent in the future. As a reminder, I will be holding a local listening post open to the public this Monday, October 24th at 6 PM at the Country Kitchen in Cuba. Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of Outreach and Policy with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and other conservation staff will join me. The listening post will provide local citizens with the opportunity to ask any questions, provide suggestions or comments, discuss new hunting and fishing regulations, learn about MDC programs and services, and other related topics. You may read in more detail about what is happening at your State Capitol below.

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

-Jason

 

The Development of Missouri’s Military Strategic Plan (MMSP)

Last year, HB 1070, sponsored by Representative Charlie Davis, established the Office of the Missouri Military Advocate. The bill passed out of the General Assembly and was also approved and signed by the governor. Now, the newly formed office, in collaboration with the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission and the Hawthorn Foundation, has just successfully wrapped up four public meetings held across the state. These meetings were specifically designed to gather public thoughts and expert opinions on how Missouri can best prepare for the uncertain future affecting our military bases, defense agencies, defense procurement businesses, and defense-related research and innovation.

The meetings brought together community and civic leaders, chambers of commerce and economic developers, installation support organizations, defense businesses, and researchers and innovators who provided input in developing Missouri’s first ever strategic plan for protecting and enhancing the state’s military and defense industry. The military and defense sector is important to Missouri as it provides jobs to more than 275,000 Missourians, generates $40 billion in economic activity, and includes over $6 billion in direct personal earnings. These meetings are surely only the first of many to come in continuing to ensure Missouri remains one of the most innovative and military friendly states in the country.

Legislature Likely to Revisit Unemployment Reform Issue

During the 2015 session, the Missouri General Assembly also approved legislation to reform the state’s system of unemployment. The legislation was intended to bring financial stability to the system, which went insolvent after the 2008 economic downturn. Its primary provisions acted to link unemployment benefits to the rate of unemployment, and ensure the state keeps more money in the unemployment trust fund. It was a change House members supported in order to end Missouri’s trend of borrowing money from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits.

Shortly after the legislature acted, the governor vetoed the legislation to prevent it from becoming law. House members then quickly responded by overriding the governor’s veto and sending the bill to the Senate to complete the override. However, Senate members did not act during the regular session, but instead completed the veto override motion during the annual Veto Session in September. The bill then went into effect as law and Missouri reformed its system of unemployment as the legislature intended.

Recently, however, these reforms were struck down when the Missouri Supreme Court decided the veto override completed by the legislature was invalid. Specifically, the court decided the Senate violated the constitution by overriding the veto during the annual Veto Session, which the court said is reserved for bills vetoed only during the final week of the regular session or later. In the opinion of the court, because the bill was vetoed by the governor more than a week before session ended, the Senate needed to complete the override motion during the regular session rather than the Veto Session.

The decision drew immediate criticism from legislative leaders. House Speaker Todd Richardson said, “We are now in unprecedented and unsettling territory with the Supreme Court’s decision to overstep its authority and create new limits on the legislature’s veto override power. The truth is that our constitution provides both legislative bodies with the authority to determine the rules of their own proceedings, and our proceedings clearly complied with our own requirements and the language of the constitution. To see the court overreach in this way in order to invalidate a piece of legislation that received the support of supermajorities in both chambers should raise concerns for all Missourians who believe in fair and balanced branches of government.”

Senate leaders pledged to revisit the issue when the legislature convenes for the 2017 session in January. Members from both chambers have pointed out that the state will have a new governor when the legislature meets again, and many are hopeful the state will have a leader who will work with House and Senate members to fix the state’s system of unemployment so that it can remain solvent.

Cuba Listening Post

As a reminder, I will be holding a local listening post open to the public this Monday, October 24th at 6 PM at the Country Kitchen in Cuba, MO. Aaron Jeffries, Deputy Director of Outreach and Policy with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and other conservation staff will join me. The listening post will provide local citizens with the opportunity to ask any questions, provide suggestions or comments, discuss new hunting and fishing regulations, learn about MDC programs and services, and other related topics. I look forward to the opportunity of holding a listening post in the 120th Legislative District. I know individuals have questions, suggestions, and concerns. Therefore, I encourage everyone who is able to come out and join us on the 24th for an informative discussion!

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 115-H, 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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