This week I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures -Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force meeting in Chicago. As part of our meeting, we toured the Northrup/Grumman laboratory and production plant just outside the Windy City. We learned about various countermeasures for aircraft safety and several other factors in aeronautic production. This proved to be a very informative tour!
The task force always gives legislative updates. As usual, Missouri is leading the pack as a military/veteran friendly state. I will work to keep that track record intact.
As promised over the next several weeks, I will continue to recap the bills vetoed by the governor. These bills are likely to be reheard during the Annual Veto Session on September 14th. This week I have three bills to summarize.
Bills for Veto Session
--Protecting Taxpayer Dollars (HB 1432) -- The governor vetoed legislation that was meant to protect taxpayer funds from being wasted on ineffective government employees who are placed on paid administrative leave when they should be fired. The legislation is a response to abuses seen in a Missouri school district where several administrators were not fired, but instead kept on extended paid administrative leave. To prevent such abuses from happening, the legislation approved by the General Assembly would require a hearing within 60 days of an employee being placed on administrative leave. The hearing would be utilized to determine if the employee engaged in misconduct. The bill also would require that an employee placed on administrative leave be provided with a written explanation of the specific reason for the placement within seven days.
Veto Date: 06/28/16
--Big Government Get Off My Back Act (HB 1870) -- The governor vetoed legislation meant to cut the bureaucratic red tape that too often stifles the growth of small businesses in Missouri. If the General Assembly overrides the governor's veto, the bill would revive the Big Government Get Off My Back Act for tax years 2016 through 2021.
The act originally ran from 2009 to 2014 and was instrumental in prohibiting burdensome new rules and regulations on small businesses, as well as unnecessary fee increases. The act also gives a $10,000 tax deduction for any small business, with 50 employees or less, that hires additional employees and pays them at least the average county wage. A business can claim a $20,000 deduction if it also pays for at least half of its employees' health insurance premiums.
In its final year in 2014, the act provided tax relief to 196 small businesses throughout Missouri. Supporters hope to provide assistance to even more businesses by reviving the program.
Veto Date: 07/01/16
--Expert Witness Legislation (SB 591) -- Another bill vetoed by the governor was meant to improve the reliability of expert evidence presented to juries in Missouri state courts. The bill would implement an established standard for determining when expert-witness testimony is admissible as evidence at trial. The proposed standard, commonly referred to as the Daubert standard after a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court case, is used in federal courts and more than two-thirds of the states. Under this standard, the trial judge acts as a gatekeeper to ensure that "expert" testimony is based on "sufficient facts or data" and is the product of "reliable principles and methods." Currently in Missouri, judges admit expert testimony if it is based on facts that are "reasonably relied upon by experts in the field."
Veto Date: 06/28/16
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.