Senior Savings Protection Act Signed into Law (SB 244)
Legislation approved by the General Assembly this year was recently signed into law by the governor that will provide additional protections to prevent Missouri seniors from being defrauded. I have written about the Senior Savings Protection Act before, and described it as legislation designed to prevent the financial exploitation of seniors and adults with disabilities. To quickly recap, this legislation is designed to better protect seniors by allowing a financial agent to refuse a distribution of funds in the event they suspect a senior or disabled adult client is being defrauded. The agent would then have time to notify the family of the client and the proper authorities. Current law does not allow a financial agent to raise concerns to anyone not named on the account.
With the governor's signature, the Senior Savings Protection Act will take effect as law on Aug. 28.
Right to Work Vetoed (HB 116)
On June 4, the governor vetoed legislation commonly referred to as Right to Work (HB 116). The passage of the bill through the General Assembly marked the first time in the state's history that such legislation made its way to the governor's desk. This in itself deserves some explanation, but the plot also grows thicker as it goes.
First, why Right to Work? Every person I've ever spoken with who is involved in economic development, specifically site selection for a new manufacturing facility, have all remarked that not being Right to Work hurts Missouri in its efforts to recruit new employers. Otherwise, Missouri is considered to be a friendly state for expansion, but this is a critical test. On the other hand, union supporters often state that going Right to Work will allow free riders, those who benefit from collective bargaining but do not contribute. Finally, a Libertarian would argue that forced unionization (closed shops) violate the fundamental right of association, a person is free to join or not join a union.
Now, what does HB 116 do? It eliminates union membership, or the payment of union dues or fees, as a condition of employment, so it is Right to Work. The result is workers in Missouri would have the right to decide whether to join a union or to decline such membership. The legislation does not outlaw unions in any way, shape, or form.
Why did the legislature take this step? Jobs and economic growth is the short answer. Economic development is a competitive business, all states, and now countries, are in competition with each other. It's a buyer's market, if you will. A site selector told me that if a manufacturing prospect is European, it will not even consider a non-Right to Work state. This can be digested with some economic information.
Although there are lots of different studies about the subject, with lots of differing control factors, perhaps the most apples-to-apples study is by economist Thomas Holmes who found Right to Work states added 26% more jobs than non-Right to Work counterparts ("Competition and Productivity: A Review of the Evidence" Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 2, September 2010.). Couple this with recent polling showing that 71% of Americans favor Right to Work (http://www.semissourian.com/story/2205314.html ), and all but two of or surrounding states have Right to Work.
The veto now sets up a potential showdown with the governor during September's Veto Session. The House needs 109 votes to override the governor's veto. The Senate needs 23. The bill passed during the legislative session with 92 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate. Supporters of the bill will now use the months leading up to the Veto Session to work toward securing the additional votes needed for a successful override.
NOTE: I mention this because it is in the news. Governor Nixon accepted $50,000 in a donation from the United Auto Workers just days after the veto. (http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article24435220.html; http://www.mec.mo.gov/EthicsWeb/CampaignFinance/CF11_SearchComm.aspx ) Needless to say, the timing brought critical media scrutiny.