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Rowland Report 9.19.2013

Greetings from your State Capitol!  We met yesterday for our annual veto session.  This session gives us the opportunity to override any of the Governor’s vetoes of bills sent to him from the earlier session.  This override vote has to be a 2/3 vote of members, 109 in the House and 23 in the Senate.

The Governor vetoed 29 bills this summer covering a wide range of topics.  The House Republicans had discussed these bills during our summer caucus in August and held meetings and further discussions prior to the convening of the veto session.  As one can imagine there were differings of opinions on some bills, there was consent on others.

After the gavel fell, a little after midnight, the House and Senate had overridden 10 bills.  These bills were:

SB 9 – Several of the parts of this bill were passed and signed into law in other bills.  The parts of this bill that were enacted yesterday included:  making it a class B felony for stealing livestock, creates the crime of animal trespass if a person having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate control for a period equal to or exceeding twelve hours, and prohibits foreign ownership of Missouri agricultural land over one percent of the total aggregate agricultural acreage.

SB 110 – Establishes procedures to follow in child custody and visitation cases for military personnel, especially during and after deployment.

SB 129 – Establishes the Volunteer Health Services Act to allow for licensed health care professionals to provide volunteer services for a sponsoring organization.

SB 170 – Allows members of public governmental bodies to cast roll call votes in a meeting if the member is participating via videoconferencing.

HB 19 – The Governor had a line item veto of one million dollars to rebuild a vo-tech school in Pike County.  We overturned his veto and put the money back in the budget bill.

HB 278 – Prohibits any state or local government entity; public building, park, or school; or public setting or place from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any Federal holidays.

HB 329 – Changes the laws regarding financial institutions.

HB 339 – Requires uninsured motorists to forfeit recovery of noneconomic damages under certain circumstances.

HB 650 – Changes the laws regarding the Department of Natural Resources.

HB 1035 – Changes the laws regarding political subdivisions.

Two of the most advertised bills, HB 436 and HB 253, failed to be overridden.  HB 436 was passed in the House but failed in the Senate.  I voted for this bill.  HB 253 failed in the House.  I voted against this bill; the only one I voted against.  My reasons for voting against it were never talked about on the radio, television, newspapers, or mailers.  My reasons were:

1. Possible severe cuts to education, both K-12 and college & university.

2. Possible severe cuts to senior services (meals on wheels, home health, etc.) and to mental health.

3. Taxing prescription drugs. (I had a hard time believing this was a “cutting taxes” bill when we were adding this part.)

4. Taxing of propane, firewood, and wood pellets (several people in my district heat with these).

5. The bill sponsor stated openly that there were problems with parts of HB 253 but they “could be fixed” next session.  I simply wasn’t willing to vote yes on a “government promise.”

I am not against a reduction in our taxes and have stated that openly in our caucus and to individuals.  I am against a bad piece of legislation.  This is why I voted against HB 253.

I hope we revisit this issue early in January and have a bill on the Governor’s desk before February.  The bill sponsor seems to be willing to work toward that end at this time.

It was a long day with lots of discussions and votes.  I pray that I have made the right decision for my district and my state.

As always, it is a privilege to represent you in State Government.