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14 July 2011

Engler: Voice Of Missouri Voters At Risk, Governor's Action On Legislation, State Parks

Governor's Veto of Senate Bill 282 Puts Voice of Missouri Voters at Risk

This year, Sen. Engler sponsored Senate Bill 282, which would have made several changes to elections in the state. One of the main provisions would have moved Missouri's presidential primary from February to March to bring the state into compliance with rules agreed to by both the national Republican and Democrat parties.

Senator Engler worked closely with minority and majority members to ensure there were no measures that would be considered controversial. A conference committee meeting was held and the bill was dissected line by line. Several provisions were removed, but no objections were noted from the governor or his staff. Despite Sen. Engler’s efforts and an overwhelming bipartisan, majority vote approving the bill, the governor chose to veto the bill. (Senate final vote 31 to 2, House final vote 137-11) In his veto letter (you can read the veto letter here) the governor outlined two provisions he disagreed with.
  • A provision to require special elections when statewide officials leave office in midterm, rather than allowing the governor to appoint replacements. This provision was drafted to promote transparency in government and avoid situations like in Illinois where the governor "sold" an appointment to the U.S. Senate.
  • A measure to eliminate elections in communities with populations under 35,000 when the number of candidates equal the number of offices. The provision would have saved money in these small communities when situations like this arise.
The governor's veto puts Missouri in a precarious position and could result in the state losing half of its delegates during the 2012 presidential conventions.

Both majority and minority members voted in support of SB 282. A veto override attempt would originate in the Senate and is very likely.

"The governor's veto of Senate Bill 282 could cost us our voice in selecting America's next president. The most frustrating part of this process is that we worked hard to ensure that all sides were well represented in the bill's passage. We would have welcomed the governor's leadership as the bill made its way through the legislative process, but he instead chose to wait until the end of July to veto the measure. We will continue to work to ensure Missourians have a voice in 2012 for the presidential conventions." -Senator Kevin Engler

Governor Takes Action on 2011 Legislation

This session, the Legislature passed and sent 147 bills to the governor's desk. The House and Senate also passed two joint resolutions — these do not need the governor’s signature, but instead go to a vote of the people. The governor can approve, veto, or choose not to sign the bills, in which case they become law on their effective date.

Here is some recent action the governor took on major bills this session:

Senate Bill 3: This bill would have established requirements for voter ID and advance voting. The governor vetoed the bill. However, the constitutional amendment allowing voter ID and advance voting (SJR 2) will still go to the voters.

Senate Bill 226: This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Engler, relates to ambulance districts. Specifically, the bill allows members of ambulance districts to be recalled and for an ambulance district to choose whether to go to the voters with a sales tax or property tax to fund a new district. The bill was signed by the governor on July 5.

To view the governor's action on all bills passed this session, click here.

State Parks Offer Outdoor Opportunities

Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, located in the St. Francois Mountains, includes hickory forests and rocky glades for a beautiful, solitary experience for hikers.

Families looking for vacation opportunities don't need to look far thanks to the great outdoor resources we have in the state. Our Missouri State Parks have a lot to offer.

Here is a list of State Parks and Historic sites in the Southeast Region:

Summer Weather Safety Tips

Communities throughout our state have faced danger from severe weather this year. Whether taking the right precautions during a storm or making sure to stay cool during extreme heat, please make sure you and your family are safe this summer.

Here are resources for dealing with summer weather:

Severe Thunderstorm Preparedness
Tornado Preparedness
Find a Cooling Center Near You

An Update On Missouri's Budget

This year, legislators in the House and Senate completed work on the state budget before the deadline. We worked hard to make sure we were budgeting within our means while also providing for vital services in our state.

Education is one of our top priorities. The $23.2 billion budget reflected this. The Legislature worked to include a $10 million increase for K-12 transportation, compared to the governor’s recommendations and a $12 million increase for higher education over the governor's budget recommendation.

Unfortunately, the governor chose to cut our top priority of education through budget withholds. While cuts were necessary in order to secure funding to assist with natural disaster relief due to the tornado in Joplin and flooding in Southeast Missouri, we should not balance our budget on the backs of students.

Transportation Projects in the 3rd District

The Missouri Department of Transportation will work throughout the summer on several projects in our area. You can regularly check its web site for updates on projects that may affect travel in the state.

The Southeast MoDOT region includes Carter, Iron, Reynolds, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Francois counties. Road work in this region is listed by county here.

Jefferson County is included in the St. Louis MoDOT region. A weekly update of construction is listed here.

Washington County is included in the Central MoDOT region. Roadwork in the region is listed by county here.

A statewide map of road conditions is also available here.

Helping Others in Our State

Tornadoes and flooding have ravaged communities throughout our state. The needs of the families in these communities, who have lost everything they know, is almost unimaginable. The state has a list of several ways you can help and keep aware of what is going on throughout the state.

Click here for more information on ways you can help Missourians recover from recent disasters.

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