Briefer: 19 Senate bills vetoed by Nixon

051106-021– While much of the summer-long drama previewing this year’s veto session has focused on the Missouri House of Representatives, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed 19 bills in the General Assembly’s upper chamber — including legislation pushed by gas companies to increase their ability to raise rates for previously completed infrastructure projects, as well as controversial bills aiming to block ‘Agenda 21′ and Islamic law from being implemented in Missouri.

The Senate bills vetoed by Nixon include:

  • Senate Bill 9: The bill would allow foreign businesses to purchase up to one percent of Missouri agricultural land and criminalize animal trespassing. In his veto message, Nixon said he believed the issue of foreign land ownership should have been debated in open committee, not slipped in the bill in a floor substitute. He was also critical of the animal trespassing language because, under one scenario, “an otherwise law-abiding Missourian who failed to control the family cat on two separate occasions could be subject to incarceration.” (Passed the House 133 to 31, Senate 32 to 1.) 
  • Senate Bill 28: Similarly to a House bill, this legislation aims to redefine “misconduct” and “good cause” for the purpose of disqualifying some Missourians for unemployment benefits. Nixon said the bill would remove the state from federal law governing unemployment benefits. (Passed the House 98 to 57, Senate 32 to 2.) 
  • Senate Bill 29: The bill would require public labor unions to seek authorization to use dues and fees to make political contributions and require consent for withholding earnings from paychecks. Nixon, in his veto message, said, “the bill targets a single group of employees and imposes on them an unnecessary and cumbersome process.” (Passed the House 85 to 69, Senate 24 to 10.)  
  • Senate Bill 34: The bill would require the Division of Workers’ Compensation to develop and maintain a workers’ compensation claims database. In a veto message following months of criticism from the GOP about his Department of Revenue’s former document scanning process, Nixon said, “such a database would unnecessarily invade Missourians’ privacy, with no valid purpose.” (Passed the House 91 to 67, Senate 32 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 43: The bill would modify several transportation statutes, but was vetoed by Nixon because of a section that would recognize the “Slave Rock” on Interstate 70. (Passed the House 146 to 6, Senate 29 to 4.) 
  • Senate Bill 51: The bill would impose new fees at fee and license offices across the state and require the state to reimburse contractors for all “reasonable costs” associated with the fee offices. Nixon claims Missourians could have to pay “more than $22 million in additional fees” if the bill is enacted. (Passed the House 97 to 44, Senate 31 to 2.) 
  • Senate Bill 60: The bill would change the requirements for reinsurance companies. Nixon vetoed the bill because he said it was unnecessary — similar language was passed and signed into law with House Bill 133. (Passed the House 154 to 2, Senate 34 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 73: The bill would modify various laws relating to judicial process, including allowing a court in Jackson County to use a court-approved private probation service for DWI offenses. Nixon said the bill would result in the statute being printed twice, and that it is unnecessary. (Passed the House 131 to 18, Senate 28 to 3.) 
  • Senate Bill 77: The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Lamping, aims to allow “certain neighborhood youth development programs to be exempt from child care licensing requirements.” Nixon said the bill is aimed at exempting Girls Incorporated of St. Louis from state requirements. After calling Girls Inc. “an outstanding organization,” he said, “any measure that would exempt a single organization from generally applicable child safety requirements cannot receive my approval, regardless of the quality of the organization.” (Passed the House 143 to 4, the Senate 33 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 110: The bill would establish procedures for child custody and visitation cases for military personnel. Nixon said the fingerprint requirement to comply with federal foster care law was poorly drafted. (Passed the House 154 to 0, Senate 33 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 129: The bill seeks to establish the Volunteer Health Services Act to allow for licensed health care professionals to provide volunteer health care services. In his veto message, Nixon said he opposed the bill because it seeks to grant immunity to those doctors from civil liability. (Passed the House 115 to 41, Senate 28 to 6.) 
  • Senate Bill 170: This bill would allow members of various public boards and other government bodies to cast roll call votes via videoconferencing. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat. “Existing law emphasizes the duty appropriately imposed on elected officials to physically attend meetings and should not be changed,” Nixon wrote in opposition. (Passed the House 142 to 8, Senate 34 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 182: The bill aims to eliminate state and local use taxes on motor vehicle sales and modifies state and local sales taxes on such purchases. Similar legislation was vetoed by Nixon last year. Nixon applauded this year’s legislation for requiring a local vote, but said the provision only covered out of state sales — not private sales, which was his main contention against the bill. (Passed the House 123 to 32, Senate 32 to 0.) 
  • Senate Bill 224: The bill includes a set of provisions relating to crimes and law enforcement officers and agencies. Included in the package is a provision that would lessen the penalty for underage gambling, which Nixon cited in his veto message. (Passed the House 133 to 2, Senate 30 to 1.) 
  • Senate Bill 240: The bill would expand the laws regarding gas companies seeking infrastructure related rate increases from the Missouri Public Service commission. “The existing ISRS mechanism has had the intended effect of encouraging the gas utilities to replace and maintain their infrastructure,” Nixon wrote in his veto message. “However, what the above fails to demonstrate is any compelling reason to expand this exiting mechanism and, by doing so, raise utility costs for Missouri consumers.” (Passed the House 110 to 45, Senate 26 to 6.) 
  • Senate Bill 265: The bill aims to stop the United Nations’ Agenda 21 plan from being enacted in Missouri. “This act prohibits the state and any political subdivision from implementing any policy recommendations that infringe on private property rights without due process and are traceable to Agenda 21 adopted in 1992 by the United Nations or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the federal or state constitutions,” the summary reads. In his veto message, Nixon said it “is fundamentally misguided and unnecessary to require local government officials to become international law experts in order to perform their duties.” (Passed the House 118 to 37, Senate 24 to 9.) 
  • Senate Bill 267: The bill aims to ban foreign law from being implemented in Missouri. Without explicitly saying it, the bill is said to be aimed at targeting Islamic law. In his veto message, Nixon said the bill could have a “chilling effect” on foreign adoptions, and declare contracts based on foreign law “void and unenforceable,” a potential impact on businesses operating internationally. (Passed the House 109 to 41, Senate 24 to 9.) 
  • Senate Bill 342: Like Senate Bill 9, this bill would allow for one percent of Missouri farm land to be owned by foreign entities. Furthermore, it would remove a requirement regarding how close mine boundaries can be to schools in Cape Girardeau. “It is generally objectionable to excuse a select industry or company from an existing standard to which all other like entities are held,” Nixon wrote. “It is even more offensive to suggest that school children in Cape Girardeau County should receive any less protection than children in all other parts of the state.” (Passed the House 103 to 50, Senate 32 to 0.0 
  • Senate Bill 350: The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, would eliminate the renter’s portion of the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit and creates the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund. Nixon said the bill was “not comprehensive tax credit reform” and said “seniors would lose their existing tax benefit” if the bill is enacted. (Passed the House 91 to 69 – 17 Republicans voted against it in the lower chamber, Senate 21 to 12 – just short of a two-thirds majority.)