Environmental permitting simplified; funding mechanism created for information-sharing system for local law enforcement; sheriffs to take over CCW permitting

Gov. Jay Nixon today addressed the remaining pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly as he signed nine bills, vetoed three bills and allowed four other bills to become law without his signature.

Two of the bills signed by the Governor today concern public safety. Senate Bill 42 creates a mechanism for funding the Missouri Data Exchange (MODEX) Fund, which allows local law enforcement agencies to share incident reports and other information.  In addition, Senate Bill 42 allows sheriffs to establish a canteen or commissary within a county jail, with the requirement that the funds generated be used for biometric identification systems.

The other public safety bill signed by the Governor was Senate Bill 75, which will transfer the concealed carry weapon permitting process from the Missouri Department of Revenue to the county sheriffs beginning August 28. As a result, Missourians will go directly to their sheriffs for a CCW permit, rather than receiving an endorsement on their state driver’s license or non-driver’s license. This bill mirrors Senate Bill 42 in several provisions, including allowing sheriffs to establish a canteen or commissary within a county jail, with the requirement that the funds generated be used for biometric identification systems.

Gov. Nixon today also signed House Bill 28, an omnibus bill with many provisions related to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Among its provisions, the bill simplifies the environmental permitting process, a proposal put forward by the Governor in his State of the State address in January. It also extends the sunset on fees that fund hazardous waste management, and allows county commissions to implement burn bans – an authority that county commissions did not have during the drought of 2012.

“The simplifying of the environmental permitting process is a common-sense step to cut red tape for businesses and farmers, without backing off our commitment to clean land, air and water,” Gov. Nixon said. “County commissions also can now take necessary steps when weather conditions such as we had last year create the real risk of uncontrolled fires.”

Two bills signed by the Governor today relate to education:

n  Senate Bill 125 will eliminate the current requirement that the State Board of Education wait two years before intervening in a school district; and

n  Senate Bill 258 changes the makeup of the Kansas City School Board from nine members to seven members to align with other local school boards across the state.

Gov. Nixon also signed:

n  House Bill 116, which clarifies and strengthens the authority of the state auditor;

n  House Bill 128, which authorizes county collectors to send property tax statements electronically, and gives Missouri companies an additional option for calculating taxable income;

n  Senate Bill 254, which relates to services offered by state-chartered banks; and

n  Senate Bill 262, an omnibus insurance bill that contains a number of provisions relating to health care.

Today, the Governor vetoed House Bill 110, House Bill 650 and House Bill 1035.

House Bill 110 would have created a confusing and untenable process for filling a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office and allowed the lieutenant governor’s “chief administrative assistant” to assume his or her ministerial duties. 

“By turning over the lieutenant governor’s constitutional duties to a vaguely defined staff member before allowing a political committee to choose a candidate behind closed doors, this bill would have created a confusing and untenable process for filling a vacancy in that office,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Especially during times of crisis – for example, if a vacancy is caused by a death or a crime – this poorly-drafted bill would have created additional confusion and uncertainty.”

House Bill 650 contains a provision that would have violated the Missouri constitution’s prohibition against laws enacted to benefit a specific business or individual and denied Missourians access to the civil justice system retroactively.   “A bill that carves out a special exemption for a specific entity, at the expense of Missourians injured by lead poisoning, simply cannot become law,” Gov. Nixon said.

House Bill 1035 contains a provision inserted without a public hearing, which would have denied property owners the opportunity to have their voices heard before being annexed. The Governor said Missourians should not be denied the opportunity to weigh in on such a substantive change. 

Finally, the Governor took no action on the following bills, allowing them to become law without his signature:

n  House Bill 34, which changes the calculation for prevailing wages in 94 counties in Missouri;

n  House Bill 400, which establishes two new requirements regarding abortifacients;

n  House Bill 446, which prohibits any local law or ordinance regulating the enforcement and servicing of real estate loans; and

n  Senate Bill 236, which relates to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s motor vehicle, aircraft and watercraft revolving fund.