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20 September 2011

Kelley: Bills Progress To Reciprocal Chambers

“Veto Session”, which is required by our constitution, began last Wednesday. The session ended quickly with no attempt to override any of the Governor's vetoes.

The Missouri General Assembly returned for a special session to pass a number of important bills, including a major job creation package that will help turn our state’s economy around. With nearly 9 percent of Missourians currently unemployed, it is the kind of innovative solution that our state needs.

In addition to the job creation initiative that the House and Senate have been working on for months, the House pass bills that will return control of the St. Louis Police Department to the City of St. Louis [HB1]; tax relief and funding for disaster affected areas, including Joplin [HB5]; and a change to the date of next year’s presidential primary [HB3].

On Thursday, House committees met and on Friday, the full House debated them on the floor. With overwhelming bipartisan agreement, the House passed bills that will do the following:
  • Move the presidential primary from February to March to ensure compliance with national party rules. The move will ensure that Missouri will not lose delegates and representation at the national conventions next summer.
  • End a 150-year policy of state control over the St. Louis Police Department. The bill will ensure more accountability by returning control of the department to elected officials accountable to voters instead of individuals appointed by the governor.
  • Tap the Rainy Day Fund to provide funding for areas of the state affected by disasters. Not only will the fund, which was designed for this purpose, provide relief to disaster affected areas, but it will hopefully put an end to the governor’s unconstitutional practice of withholding funds from schools to pay for this recovery. [HB6]
  • Provide property tax relief to businesses destroyed by disaster. State law currently requires businesses to pay full property tax even if they are ruined in disasters. The bill will allow those businesses destroyed by the storms to receive a tax reduction for those months that their businesses were destroyed.
Each of the bills has been sent to the Senate and the Jobs bill has been passed on to the House. The jobs bill will help create thousands of quality jobs in Missouri by investing in high-tech jobs, attracting sporting events to the state, promoting the creation of data centers, and creating a trade hub that will help open doors for Missouri products to international markets. Not only will each of these innovative incentives create thousands of jobs and help turn our state’s economy around, they will be paid for by cutting additional spending out of the state’s budget.

Until my next update, I am, and remain, in your service,

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