As you can imagine, we had lots of drama leading up to last week's session, particularly the effort to override the Governor's veto on Right to Work, HB116. I voted NO on every veto override attempt.
Different from regular session, a total of House 109 votes & 23 Senate votes (2/3 majority) were necessary to override any governor vetoes.
Most of us were curious to the tenor of new Speaker Todd Richardson. Would he recognize Democrats to speak? Would he allow debate of every representative at the mike? How would he handle potential outbursts? Would he set a different tone from that of former disgraced speaker John Diehl?
BREAKING NEWS LAST NIGHT: The Planned Parenthood "Witch Hunt" at full throttle
The University of Missouri Health Care System announced they were discontinuing normal hospital physician's privileges, targetting Columbia's only abortion provider. This is against federal law and will be challenged in court.
Bucking under pressure from GOP State Sen. Kurt Schaefer's attacks, Chief Medical Officer Stevan Whitt said in response:
“It is time to just get better and get rid of crummy doctors, get rid of doctors who are not going to take us into the future."
WHAT DID NOT BECOME LAW
HOUSE VOTE FAILED - 96-63-1 (109 NEEDED TO OVERRIDE)
GOP Rep. TJ Berry of the KC area) voted present). One DEM voted FOR the override, Rep. Courtney Curtis (D-Berkeley)
WE SUSTAINED THE GOVERNOR'S VETO
However, we are being warned by Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and other GOP leaders that retaliation is imminent for every GOP member who voted with labor. We fully expect this will remain a huge issue in the 2016 state elections and possibly back next session.
HOUSE VOTE 111-44 BUT FAILED IN SENATE - 20-12
HB 799 sought to authorize court fees or expand existing fees in certain judicial circuits to raise money for local capital projects. Our courts exist to administer justice, not to generate revenue that should instead come from local taxes approved by local voters.
WHAT IS NOW LAW
HOUSE VOTED TO OVERRIDE IN MAY 109-53; SENATE VOTED TO OVERRIDE IN VETO SESSION 24-8
By allowing a maximum of 20 weeks of unemployment benefits, Missouri in recent years has been just one of eight states that cap maximum benefits at less than 20 weeks. Thanks to Republicans, Missouri benefits are about to be slashed to as low as 13 weeks. Maybe.
Because the governor vetoed the unemployment bill (HB 150) prior to last five days of the regular legislative session, under the constitution any veto override attempt likely should have taken place during regular session.
While the House voted to override within the constitutional window for doing so in May, the Senate took no action at that time. Although the Senate overrode the veto last week on a straight party-line vote, the validity of that action is highly suspect.
Since the General Assembly has never attempted a veto override that procedurally straddles two legislative sessions – mostly because it previously hadn’t been considered to be allowed – the Missouri Supreme Court has never ruled on the matter. However, it likely will soon get its chance as a lawsuit is expected to be filed in the coming weeks.
HOUSE VOTED TO OVERRIDE 114-37; SENATE VOTED 24- 8.
Democrats Keith English (Florissant), Alan Green (Florissant) and Ben Harris (Hillsboro) voted YES with the majority. Republican Jeff Pogue (Salem) voted NO with the Democrats.
LISTEN TO MY DEBATE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR HERE.
SB 224 excludes certain Missouri children from receiving community college scholarships under the A+ Schools program, even though they have otherwise earned it. Excluded students are those who were born in another country but brought to Missouri as children through no action or choice of their own, yet have been granted legal status through presidential executive order.
SB 224 punishes innocent students who have done nothing wrong. We should reward all Missouri students for their academic achievements. This legislation is motivated by pure meanness and anti-immigrant hysteria and serves no legitimate public policy purpose.
HOUSE VOTED 115-40-2; SENATE VOTED 26-6
6 Democrats voted YES, 8 Republicans voted NO. Democrat Alan Green (Florissant) voted present.
The override of HB 878 grants the powers typically reserved for law enforcement officers to make arrests, conduct searches and seize property to licensed private corporate security officers.
Unlike local police and county sheriffs and their deputies, whose authority is limited by their jurisdictions, these private corporate security officers will have the authority to exercise their new powers anywhere in the state without limitation. HB 878 essentially allows companies to create their own private police forces with all the power of traditional law enforcement officers but none of the accountability.
At a time when many Missourians are concerned with constitutional abuses by traditional law enforcement agencies, granting massive police powers to employees of private companies with virtually no oversight could make a bad problem far worse.
* RESTRICTING LOCAL CONTROL (MINIMUM WAGE & PLASTIC BAG BANS - HB722 HOUSE VOTED 114-46; SENATE VOTED 23-9
The override of HB 722 strips Missouri cities of local control and substitutes the wishes of Republican majority to those of local voters and elected officials.Missouri’s municipalities are vastly different in terms of population, demographics, geography and countless other categories. Imposing one-size fits all rules on all Missouri cities ignores the reality of these differences.
HB 722 is an unwarranted state intrusion into local affairs and hamstrings the ability of local voters and elected officials to respond to local needs.
HOUSE VOTED 110-46 (3 GOP voted NO); SENATE VOTED 28-4
The override of SB 20 will provide special tax breaks to commercial laundries and cost state an local governments a combined $4 million in lost tax revenue. The bill overrules 25 years of Missouri Supreme Court decisions holding commercial laundries aren’t manufacturers and, therefore, aren’t entitled to tax exemptions granted to manufacturers on the purchase of raw materials, machinery and energy used in the production process.
With the state struggling to fund basic services, the legislature shouldn’t provide special interest tax breaks that yield no economic benefit for the state.
HOUSE VOTED 123-35; SENATE VOTED 26-6
Allows additional medical professionals authority to sign death certificates with blanket civil immunity.
HOUSE VOTED 122-38; SENATE VOTED 29-3
Provides insurance companies cover to not disclose details of their refund policies.
HOUSE VOTED 118-42; SENATE VOTED 26-6
Allows out of state trust companies more favorable rules than in-state ones.
HOUSE VOTED 114-39; SENATE VOTED 28-4
Bill contained drafting errors referencing non-existent federal law.
HOUSE VOTED 114-37; SENATE VOTED 26-6
Allows lenders to charge Missourians more in fees.