Senator Denny Hoskins Capitol Report
After a break in legislative activity following the end of the 2020 Regular Session on May 15, things are picking up at the State Capitol. Last week, the governor concluded his review of bills passed by the General Assembly. As the deadline for gubernatorial vetoes loomed on July 14, the governor finished signing all but two of the 29 non-appropriations bills passed by the Legislature.
I was proud to see the governor sign Senate Bill 644, my legislation to modify the legal definition of a service dog, and to make it illegal to misrepresent an animal as a service dog when that animal has not received required training. I was also pleased to see several more of my legislative proposals approved as amendments. Changes to the taxation of partnerships contained in Senate Bill 676 mirrored legislation I originally introduced as Senate Bill 704. Also, my legislation to outlaw the use of unmanned drone aircraft over prisons and mental health facilities was adopted as part of House Bill 1963.
The governor vetoed just two bills passed by the Legislature in 2020. Senate Bill 718 contained a number of provisions relating to veterans and military families. The governor said a provision creating a new cabinet-level Department of Military Affairs required a corresponding constitutional amendment, and no resolution placing the question before voters was approved. Fortunately, most of the provisions of SB 718 were duplicated in Senate Bill 656. A new program to provide legal assistance to veterans, expanded coverage for military dependents diagnosed with developmental disabilities, authority for a state ombudsman to assist residents of the Missouri’s veterans’ homes and a number of special designations and recognitions related to the military will go forward. The governor said he vetoed House Bill 1854, a measure relating to political subdivisions, because it contained too many different provisions that went beyond the scope of a single topic.
In addition to his two vetoes of statutory bills, the governor exercised his line-item veto authority to trim about $11 million from the 18 budget bills sent to his desk. I regret to announce that among his cuts was $1.1 million set-aside for the University of Central Missouri’s Max B Swisher Skyhaven Airport. The appropriation, which I requested, was to supplement nearly $2 million in private donations to fund construction of a new flight education center and airport terminal.
The governor’s actions bring the Second Regular Session of the 100th General Assembly to a close, but legislative activity is not done for the year. The governor has called lawmakers back to Jefferson City for an “extraordinary” legislative session, which will focus on the alarming increase in violent crime in our state’s urban areas. The governor’s call specifically mentions six topics he wants us to address: creation of a witness protection fund, changes to witness statement admissibility, the certification of juveniles to be tried as adults, unlawful transfers of weapons to minors, modification to child endangerment statutes and eliminating the city residency requirement for St. Louis police officers.
The extraordinary session is scheduled to begin July 27. How the session progresses and what we accomplish remains to be seen. I’ll be sure to provide an update on the extra session and any legislation enacted in a future legislative column.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org