The month of July was relatively quiet on the legislative front; however, the Executive branch was busy completing bill reviews so that the Governor could make his final decision whether or not to sign or veto the bills passed by the General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session. In addition, Jefferson City is beginning to return to some degree of normalcy as the recovery from the tornado and prolonged flooding continues.
Pursuant to the Constitution, all non-budget related legislation had to be signed or vetoed by the Governor by July 14. If the Governor neither signed or vetoed a bill, the bill simply becomes law. The Governor’s bill focus in June was mainly on the budget, small non-controversial pieces of legislation (i.e. highway naming) and his legislative priorities such as the bill
authorizing the $300 million bonding package for the construction and repair of roads and bridges across Missouri. The majority of the bills passed by the legislature were signed the week of July 8th. Only six bills were vetoed by Governor Parson. All other bills passed by the General Assembly were signed into law, including all of the appropriations bills which required action by June 30.
The biggest news for ASA members was the signing of SB167 on July 11. SB167 was ASA’s priority legislation which provides payment recourse for subcontractors and suppliers working on public works projects designed to be used for non-government purposes. Governor Mike Parson held a public signing ceremony for SB167 in his office July 11. Walt Bazan and Tim Thomas attended the bill signing ceremony on behalf of ASA, as well as the bill sponsors, Senator Sandy Crawford and Rep. Aaron Griesheimer. We are truly thankful to Sen. Crawford and Rep. Griesheimer for their dedication and assistance in getting this
important bill across the finish line.
Of the six bills rejected by Parson, two were House bills and four were Senate bills. These bills are outlined below. The bills not vetoed by the Governor will not become law until August 28, unless the bill contained an emergency clause indicating a specific start date.
HB399, which was a healthcare related bill, was vetoed by the Governor due to a provision which specified that the Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services must hold a Ph.D. in a health-related field, or be a M.D. or D.O., or hold an
equivalent degree. Parson disagreed with limiting the Governor’s ability to appoint other qualified individuals to the position, such as an attorney who has spent a career practicing health care law.
HB447, a bill dealing with the regulation of coroners, and SB282, dealing with human remains and organ donation, were both vetoed by Governor Parson due to a provision in each bill which allowed for the outdoor cremation of a deceased person.
Parson noted he was uncomfortable with the idea without more discussion of the health and safety concerns of the cremation as well as respect of the deceased.
SB147, a wide-ranging motor vehicle bill which also included an increase in some license fees, and repealed the motorcycle helmet law, was vetoed because of two separate provisions opposed by Parson. First was a section that singled out St. Louis City and St. Louis County as areas where minor traffic violations would be exempt from a driver possibly having their license
suspended. The Governor’s veto letter stated this was likely unconstitutional to make a special law just for a certain geographic area. The second provision unfavorable to Parson was the creation of a statewide towing task force relating to consumer
complaints on nonconsensual tow charges. Parson stated the Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Division already handles these issues.
Also vetoed by the Governor was SB202, dealing with the distribution to counties of mining royalties on federally owned land in Missouri. While Parson stated he agreed with the premise of the bill, he noted that such decisions are based in federal law and cannot be changed in state statute.
The final veto issued by Parson was on SB414. The bill sought the creation of a Health Insurance Innovation Task Force that would deal with certain waivers under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Parson’s veto letter was in agreement with the substance of the legislation, but he stated there were several unrealistic timelines set forth in the bill and felt the task force would not have adequate time to develop and consider recommendations. That task force was created by the Governor shortly after the veto by executive order.
Capitol observers will now look ahead to the annual veto session to be held on September 11, where lawmakers may consider overriding of any bills vetoed by the Governor. In the meantime, Senators and Representatives continue to work in their home districts, holding fundraisers and other events in preparation for the 2020 election cycle.
We will continue to keep you updated on issues in Jefferson City and around the state that impact ASA and the construction
industry. Nikki Strong, Strong Consulting Group.