Veto-proof Republican majorities in Missouri’s House and Senate reduce the chances that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will be able to reverse much of the damage done in the last legislative session. Still, hope springs eternal.
So here is our Fantasy Veto Session for Missouri. (The real one begins Sept. 11.)
HOUSE BILL 253
What it is: A harebrained attempt to imitate Kansas and cut income taxes in a revenue-scarce state that already boasts one of the nation’s lowest overall tax packages.
What it does: Cuts business taxes by about half over five years and individual and corporate income taxes somewhat over 10 years. All of that will cost the state about $700 million a year when fully phased in.
Problems ahead: Missouri already invests less than most states in schools, colleges and universities, public health, child care assistance and many other measures. The income tax cuts will likely make Missouri less attractive to businesses, not more, as lack of investment will cause the state to lose its competitive edge in a high-tech economy.
Prospects: Opposition from schools, health care providers and other constituencies might convince enough members of the House to reject an override attempt. That’s the fantasy, anyway.
HOUSE BILL 436
What it is: An ill-advised show of defiance.
What it does: Declares federal gun laws unenforceable in Missouri and allows some employees to carry concealed weapons in schools.
Problems ahead: The bill is almost certainly unconstitutional, and the state would waste taxpayer money defending it in court. It requires state law enforcement officers to charge federal officials with a crime for enforcing U.S. gun laws. And guns in schools put children at risk.
Prospects: The legislature would override a veto. But Nixon should do it anyway, just to show that at least one sensible person is on the case in Missouri government.
SENATE BILL 29
What it is: A blatant attempt to weaken public employee unions.
What it does: Requires the annual written consent of a worker before a union representing public employees can withhold fees from the worker’s paycheck or use a portion of the worker’s fees and dues for political purposes.
Problem ahead: The additional required hoops would reduce the ranks of public employee unions, which is the point. But workers would have less of a voice in working conditions, safety and fair pay.
Prospects: This veto would likely be overridden but would send a sign that anti-worker measures will be resisted.
HOUSE BILL 400
What it is: Another barrier to legal abortion in Missouri, potentially presenting a risk to women.
What it does: Requires women to be in the same room as a doctor when taking an initial and a follow-up dose of a pregnancy-terminating drug. The current medical standard recommends taking the first dose at the doctor’s office and the second at home.
Problems ahead: The change would require many women to travel while experiencing cramping, bleeding and other effects of the drug.
Prospects: Not good for a veto being sustained, but it deserves a try.
NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE
The legislature passed two ridiculous laws that should be vetoed, but on practical grounds may just as well be left alone.
Senate Bill 265 bans the state and local governments from land use measures that might be traced to Agenda 21, a 2-decade-old United Nations resolution that has inexplicably riled the far right.
Senate Bill 672 prohibits Missouri courts from applying a foreign law “which is repugnant or inconsistent with the Missouri and United States constitutions.”
We’re guessing Nixon will allow these two stupid laws to take effect without his signature, which might be just as well. They are a reminder that elections matter, and we should elect more serious lawmakers the next time around.
Reprinted from the Kansas City Star with permission.