Veto session ends

Friday, September 21, 2012

The State of Missouri`s mandatory veto session ended on September 12th. Governor Nixon had vetoed 17 bills. There were two bills that were of great concern to the legislature.

One vetoed bill dealt with county sales/use tax on vehicles and boats purchased out of state. The Supreme Court ruled on March 21st that counties could no longer collect sales tax on this purchase if it was purchased out of state.

Counties such as Barry have been doing this for almost 70 years. This has two major consequences. The first is a loss of revenue for our county. Over half of this tax is used to fund the Sheriff`s Department and the Prosecuting Attorney`s Office. The decrease in funds will inevitably mean a reduction in personnel for both departments which will be seen in a decrease in officers and a backlog of cases in the Prosecutors Office.

The second is an unequal playing field for car and boat dealers in southwest Missouri. A person can save hundreds of dollars by driving to Arkansas and purchasing their auto or boat in Arkansas. The Missouri House did not have enough votes to bring this up for debate and a vote.

The House would have needed 10 to 15 Democrats to vote against the Governor which was not going to happen. We will work on this issue next session unless the Governor calls us to Special Session to work on this legislation, which I do not foresee happening.

The other vetoed bill was successful. SB749 was overwhelmingly passed in the spring session. It provides conscience protections for any person with religious or moral convictions relating to surgical and medical abortion, contraception, or sterilization.

By passing this bill, individuals, employees and employers in the state of Missouri will not be required to participate in, provide or pay for, or provide referrals for any health plans or services that cover those services. Nor will it be lawful for such persons to be discriminated against or penalized by any government agency.

The bill was vetoed by Governor Nixon on July 12. This surprised some in light of the Governor's record of allowing previous pro-life bills to pass without his signature. In the September 12th veto session, the Senate voted 26-6 and the House 109-45 in defense of the bill. With the override of the veto, the bill will become law.

My surroundings will change in early January as I move to the Senate. I have been traveling to all parts of the Senate district to become more familiar with organizations and individuals. It is my desire to continue to emphasize constituent service as I have tried to do in the House.

I must admit that I will always be prejudiced for the people in Barry County but will work hard for all concerned. Thank you for letting me serve you these past eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives.

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