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14 July 2011

Rupp: Proud to Help Pass Beneficial Laws

As a state lawmaker, there is no greater feeling of accomplishment or joy than sponsoring or handling a bill that will make a positive difference for the people in our state. I have served in the Legislature since 2002, when I was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, and the pride that I feel to serve our area has only grown with time.

Throughout the 2011 legislative session, I was (and still am) dedicated to several matters, including drawing new congressional lines to fairly represent Missouri citizens, fighting for the rights of people with disabilities, and protecting our citizens from motor vehicle warranty fraud, among many other issues. Now that the governor’s deadline to act upon legislation (July 14) has passed, it’s time to reflect on the beneficial measures enacted into law and to stand up for the measures we feel should have been signed.

I’m proud to say several measures I was responsible for have received the governor’s stamp of approval and will become Missouri law. One of those bills is SB 132, which will address fraudulent motor vehicle contracts and warranties, as well as vehicle licensing, the “free look” period, deceptive practices, the suspension and revocation of licenses, and the registry of motor vehicles. This act will protect Missourians against unregistered and misleading salesmen who try to sell consumers invalid motor vehicle warranties and convince them that their current warranties are no good. (Click here to read my press release regarding SB 132’s signature).

Other bills I co-sponsored and handled in the Missouri Senate that were signed by the governor include:
  • SB 108, which extends the expiration date concerning the installation of fire sprinklers in certain homes and buildings (not related to SB 118, which was vetoed by the governor).
  • SB 320, which modifies provisions relating to domestic violence, which include child abuse, repeat offenders, and SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) tests.
  • HB 354, which exempts electric vehicles from Missouri’s motor vehicle emissions inspection program.
  • HB 470, which stops churches from getting taxed if they had an entertainer perform at their congregation.
  • HB 604, which prohibits a child from being taken from his or her parents, just because both parents are disabled.
  • HB 648, which changes the laws regarding individuals with disabilities. The bill would change all references of “mentally retarded,” “mental retardation,” or “handicapped” in current state law to “intellectually disabled,” “intellectual disability,” or “disabled,” respectively. The bill would also protect the rights of parents with disabilities (similar to the provision found in HB 604).

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, another measure I handled, HB 193, was vetoed by the governor. However, in a positive turn of events, the Legislature secured the two-thirds majority vote needed to override the veto. A vote to overturn a veto isn’t common — the last time the Legislature successfully overrode a governor’s veto during regular session was in 1980 — so I am thrilled this act will go down in the history books as a matter that overcame odds and helped secure fair congressional districts in Missouri.

Despite the fact that I am pleased with the governor’s decisions regarding these bills, I am disappointed on his decision regarding some bills, and one in particular — SB 3. The bill was a straight-forward way to combat voter fraud in our state. Even though Missourians will still be able to cast their ballots regarding the issue of presenting a photo ID at the polls, many lawmakers were let down by the governor’s decision to veto the enacting legislation for the ballot measure. It is my hope that the Legislature will override the veto once our annual veto session begins in September, so guidelines can be in place for voter ID provisions in our state.

Again, I can’t begin to tell you how much of an honor it is to represent you and your family at our Capitol. Your well-being is my top priority, and I will continue to file legislation that will reflect the best interests of Missourians. Thank you and God Bless.

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