September 22, 2014 7th Edition
Welcome to all our new readers! There is so much to tell you so this newsletter is going to be divided into three basic sections:
1. Veto Session Results
3. Election Information
There is a lot to cover so I will try to be brief. If you have questions or want more information visit my web page for more in depth information.
|Veto Session Results|
|First a Couple Definitions|
After a bill passes both the House and Senate the Governor can sign the bill into law, veto the bill or just not sign it and it will become law without signature after a specified period of time. In order to override the Governor's veto it must be overridden by both the House (109 votes needed to override) and the Senate (22 votes needed to override), if that happens it becomes law.
All budget bills originate in the House. The Governor can withhold funds or veto the appropriation. If a line item is vetoed and that veto is sustained or no motion is made to override, it will be removed from the budget. If a vetoed line item is overridden that does not necessarily mean the funds will be appropriated. It simply stays in the budget as a withhold until funds are available to release them.
|First the Back Story
April 16, 2014
SB 509 was Truly Agreed and Finally Passed. SB 509 lowers the top income tax rate in the state to 5.5% from 6%. There is an additional reduction for those who report business income as part of their personal income tax of up to 50% or up to $125,000 of their adjusted gross income. This will gradually go into effect by 2017. A household with an income of $44,000 will see a reduction of about $36 in their state income tax. I voted no on this bill as I felt it was not beneficial to the 99% of us and it would reduce state income by approximately $600 million a year. This tax reduction bill passed at a time when we do not fully fund our schools and are not taking care of our disabled adequately.
NOTE: One thing to keep in mind is in order to add or increase a tax it must be passed by the people of the state, which is a very difficult task.
On May 1st the Governor vetoed the bill.
On May 6th the bill was overridden in both the Senate and the House. In the House the vote was 109–46. I voted to sustain the veto.
May 8th the 17 bills that make up the budget passed the House.
May 16th was the last day of session. The 10 tax reduction bills, otherwise known as the Friday Favors were passed.
Moving Forward to Veto Session — September 10th
Beginning with the Friday Favors:
Vetoes Sustained (the bills died. 109 votes needed to override)
SB 662 provided exemptions for personal seat licenses. (95-63 — I voted to sustain).
SB 860 would allow persons owing taxes to still get refunds if they owed back taxes. (97-61 — I voted to sustain).
Vetoes Overridden (the bill will become law)
SB 727 — Allows farmers' markets to sell their wares free of sales tax if they estimate income to be less than $25,000 per year. (110-48 I voted to sustain).
SB 829 — Businesses would no longer be required to prove eligibility for tax exemptions claimed. (113-48 — I voted to sustain).
No motion was made on HB1296, HB 1455, HB 1865, SB 612, SB 693, or SB 584; so the vetoes stand and none will become law this year.
I voted to sustain the veto on all of theses bills due to the budget income reductions from SB 509. We cannot afford special favors.
|Other Vetoes overridden (bills will become law)|
HB 1307 — 72 hour wait (Overridden - 117-41 — I voted to sustain the veto)
This bill requires a 72 hour waiting period for a woman to decide if she should have an abortion. There is no exception for rape or incest and no indication as to when the clock measuring the 72 hour time period is to begin.
SB 656 — Guns - Schools, Open Carry (Overridden 117-39 — I voted to sustain the veto)
Open carry may not be prohibited by ordinance if a person has a valid concealed carry permit. Schools can have designated armed school protection officers. Landlords cannot prohibit lessees from possessing firearms. There are several other provisions.
SB 841 — Vapor cigarettes (Overridden 125-33 — I voted to sustain the veto)
Would have prohibited the sale of nicotine vapor products to persons under age 18 (a good provision) and prohibit such products being taxed or regulated like other tobacco products (a bad provision).
HB 1132 — Benevolent Tax Credits (Overridden 123-37 — I voted to sustain the veto)
Raise the cap on selected benevolent tax credits for contributions to maternity homes, pregnancy resource centers and food pantries, other similar tax credits were excluded.
SB 866 — Short term loans (Overridden 113-46 — I voted to sustain the veto)
No interest limits on short term lenders that are not banks or credit unions.
|Vetoes sustained (the bill dies)|
SB 506 — Omnibus Agriculture Bill (House sustained by a vote of 108-52 — I voted to sustain)
This was a good bill for Missouri agriculture… in the beginning. However as the bill proceeded through the legislature an amendment was added redefining the term livestock to include captive cervids. Among those defined as captive cervids are while tailed deer held captive on hunting farms/ranches. I had visited dairy farmers south of Springfield and north of St. Joseph for hearings on issues they face and very much wanted to support the bill. That was until the deer bill was added as an amendment. In my opinion hunting on a fenced in farm for a specific deer that is not wary of humans for considerable sums of money is not hunting for sport.
SB 493 — Education or voucher bill (no motion was made to override the veto, the bill failed)
This is a 54 page omnibus bill a multitude of school issues including testing, vouchers, school hours and the list goes on. I voted against this bill because among other issues, it contains language allowing public funds to be spent in private schools. I very strongly feel public funds should not be used for private schools.
SB 672 — Unemployment (The Senate overrode this bill. The House Sustained it by a vote of 107-53 — I voted to sustain.)
SB 672 would have reduced the number of weeks one can be covered by unemployment insurance from 20 weeks to 13 weeks.
|Back to the Budget|
I voted to override some of the vetoed budget lines in order to restore the line items to the budget dealing with the following:
As you may have noticed, my votes to keep line items in the budget fall into the area of health, mental health and social services.
|So what have I been up to since July?|
I have been appointed to the Subcommittee on Child Abuse and Investigating. This committee meets monthly in the Capitol. We have heard from various parties that deal with the children such as caseworkers, judges. The committee is to look at what the realities are in the state and propose ways to improve our system.
The Ice Cream Social at Mt. Zion United Methodist was a lovely way to get to talk with some of the people of the district.
The NCJW once again invited me volunteer this year for their Back to School Store which served over 1,200 children. The children are provided with an outfit (pants, top, undies, shoes and socks), coat, hat, gloves and a backpack of school supplies appropriate for the child's grade level. They even have each child's eyes checked and provide glasses when needed. They get the glasses the same day. We get to be personal shoppers and help the children find what they like.
Both Parkway and Ritenour Government Relations committees have begun meeting again with quite a bit of concern over the recent veto session and now the concern is focused on Amendment 3 dealing with teacher tenure. See web page for more detail: www.suemeredith4rep.com
Once again I was asked to participate in the Governor's Council on Disabilities Missouri Youth Forum. Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Grisamore and I assisted disabled high school students from across the state through a mock hearing and mock House session. It is a good teaching tool as to how government works. I wish more students had this kind of opportunity.
Yes that's me beside that huge tractor. As member of one of the Ag committees I attended the St. Louis Agribusiness Club Tour. It is amazing how much farming is happening right here in St. Louis. We are probably all familiar with the farms around Creve Coeur Lake, but did you know there is quite a bit happening in the Spanish Lake area. I did get to sit in the driver's seat of a combine. What an amazing machine.
Speaking of farms there are also a lot of gardens in the city. As a guest of St. Louis University's Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I had lunch in their cafeteria offering only organic choices and learned about their efforts to promote healthy eating and reducing obesity. On Friday afternoons they have a farmers market at the school.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is in our district. The office is on Olive just east of Dielman. NCADA is a community health agency providing information, intervention and referral to treatment, prevention and advocacy services. They offer many programs to prevent drug and alcohol addiction and to help those trying to recover as well as working with families.
For families with members having intellectual or developmental disabilities, St. Louis Arc is offering workshops in planning for the future, caregiver support and networking groups. They are located at 1177 N. Warson and can be reached either through their website or by calling 314-817-2216.
|This being election year there are fundraising events everywhere. And that brings me to:
|Elections and Campaigns|
|There are 4 more constitutional amendments on the November 4th ballot. This is getting way too long so go to my web page to get the scoop on the amendments. In my personal opinion I feel a constitution should be the base or skeleton upon which statutes (laws) are based. Statutes should be the how to and parameters upon which Departments base the rules and regulation and counties, cities and towns base their ordinances. We don't need to clog up the Constitution with the mechanics or details of how to accomplish goals. Local control is very important as each community has its own personality.|
Yes, the weather has been too hot, too wet and too muggy but there have been some lovely days to walk the neighborhoods. I have enjoyed meeting everyone. Going door to door helps me to not only meet the people who live here, but when one steps back and thinks about what we get to see and hear it really tells me how people feel about various issues. I feel I know more about what we, the people who live in the district want which helps me decide how to vote on issues. Actually, I feel pretty good about my voting record as I feel it reflects the district as a whole.
I am not quite finished going door to door so if I haven't met you or left a card on your door, you may be among those still on my to do list.
Here it is — An opportunity for you.
Please let me know if you would like to help me win by allowing us to place a sign in your yard for the two weeks prior to the election. We will remove the signs within 2 days following the election. Another fun thing to do is be a greeter at the polls. We want everyone to feel welcome and know we are glad they came and will certainly appreciate their vote.
This is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors. We will provide you with breakfast, lunch, or snack as well as help keep you hydrated.
Everyone who participates will be invited to the election party Tuesday evening.
Drop me an email at email@example.com and let me know that you would like to help. Come and join the party.
|Take care, keep in touch and thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you in Jefferson City.
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Paid for by Friends of Sue Meredith, Pam Crowley - Treasurer