Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bill Veto and Signing Deadline Passes

Yesterday (7/14) marked the last day the governor could either sign or veto the bills passed this year by the Legislature.

(Click here to see which bills were signed and which were vetoed.)

Thirty-seven Senate bills were signed and 12 were vetoed and 92 House bills were signed and 11 were vetoed by the governor (11 budget bills also contain line-item vetoes).

Every bill the governor vetoes is sent back to the sponsoring chamber with his objections. The General Assembly may consider any of the vetoed bills during its annual veto session in mid-September. If lawmakers decide to try to override a veto, it will be put to a vote. To overturn a governor’s veto, a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers is required.

Most bills not receiving a veto become law August 28, the default effective date for new laws. However, some took effect immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature and others will become law at another specified date. Individual bill provisions may also have different effective dates than the rest of the bill.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Paternity and Child Support Bills to Become Law

The governor yesterday (7/7) signed two measures addressing family and child support issues. Senate Bills 140 and 141, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis), will officially become law August 28.


Senate Bill 140 allows non-violent defendants in criminal non-support cases to receive education, vocational training, a work program assignment and/or substance abuse treatment, in an effort to encourage them to resume their child support payments. Successful completion of these court-ordered programs or resuming support payments may reduce or dismiss the charges or penalties against the defendant.


Currently, the crime of criminal non-support is a class D felony if the person owes more than $5,000 or has failed to pay six months of payments within the last 12-month period. Under SB 140, the crime will be a class A misdemeanor unless the total payment due is in excess of 12 monthly payments combined, in which case, it will be a class D felony.


Also receiving the governor’s signature is Senate Bill 141, which protects men from false paternity claims. First, the bill requires that a presumed father be notified of any civil proceedings used to determine paternity and informs him of his right to contest the presumption of paternity and request genetic testing.


In the event that DNA testing reveals false paternity, the court is required to relieve the individual of responsibility and set aside the previous judgment of paternity and his child support commitment. The court must also eliminate remaining child support payments, expunge any criminal non-support records, and order the Department of Health and Senior Services to modify the child’s birth certificate.  

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Veterans Bill Signed by Governor

To usher in the Independence Day weekend, the governor signed veterans-related measure House Bill 82 last week, which gradually grants a full state income tax exemption on military retirement income for Missouri veterans. The bill was handled in the Senate by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg).


Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill that gradually eliminates state income taxes on Social Security or public pension benefits for Missourians age 62 and older who do not exceed a certain income cap. However, the bill didn’t offer a complete tax exemption to all Missouri veterans for their retirement benefits until they reached age 62. House Bill 82 will exempt military retirement benefits immediately upon retirement, without requiring the retiree to be at least 62. 


House Bill 82 phases in a 100 percent income tax exemption for veterans. The exemption increases by 15 percent annually beginning in 2010 until it is fully implemented at 100 percent in 2016. 


The new law takes effect August 28, 2009.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

FY 2010 Budget Takes Effect

Today (7/1) the $23 billion fiscal year 2010 budget took effect after the governor signed the budget bills last week.


The governor lent his signature to all of the budget bills last Thursday (6/25), while cutting $105 million through line-item vetoes and restricting an additional $325 million in spending until revenue improves.


The FY 2010 operating budget is contained within House Bills 1–13, while House Bills 17, 21 and 22 contain funding for special projects. In addition to the operating budget, House Bills 21 and 22 are the primary vehicles for spending the stimulus money handed down by the federal government earlier this year.


Post-veto, the operating budget contains $2.46 billion for elementary and secondary education, the state’s primary expenditure. Social services are the second-largest expense at $1.52 billion. The budget also contains $921 million for higher education, $842 million for health and mental health and $22 million for agriculture, conservation and natural resources.


The FY 2010 budget year runs July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.