Greetings from your Missouri Capitol. Well, it’s beginning to feel like fall is in the air, and with football getting in full swing, another of Missouri’s four seasons is about to commence. This is one of my favorite times of the year as the trees begin to change colors and we enjoy the beauty of our great state.
These past two weeks have been filled with a myriad of emotions as we paused to remember the events of 9/11 and the lives lost 20 years ago. The Patriot Day ceremony on Friday was very well attended as we heard from Joe Torillo, the last firefighter pulled from the twin towers. His story was filled with humor as well as the horror he faced for three days before they found him. I was proud of our high school students who read all 2,977 names and even more impressed with the number of folks who stayed to the very end.
Then on Saturday, more than 300 folks from all over Missouri participated in the Tunnels to Towers 5K Run/Walk. My wife and I were proud to participate and see our firefighters from around the state run in full bunker gear complete with respirator and helmet.
As I passed one firefighter from Jefferson City he said, “You make this look easy.”
I responded, “I’m not wearing what you are so it is much easier, and thank you for your service to our community.”
Following the run, I attended the re-dedication of the Veterans Plaza at City Hall. New pavers have been installed and raised to make it easier for visitors to find their loved ones’ names and pay respect for their service. Following that, the Patriot Day parade made its way through downtown, and once again, I rode in the Minuteman vehicle which is dedicated to the nine National Guardsman who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another great turnout with most waving their flags very reminiscent of those days following Sept. 11, 2001, when patriotism was at its zenith. I truly felt proud to be from Jefferson City and proud to be an American.
This past week, in accordance with our Missouri Constitution, we held a veto session in which members of the House and Senate return to the state Capitol. The Missouri Constitution requires the General Assembly to meet each year in September to consider bills that were vetoed by the governor. While in veto session, legislators have the opportunity to override the governor’s vetoes if they can obtain two-thirds majorities in each chamber to support the motion.
For the 2021 veto session, members of the House and Senate had three vetoed House Bills and one vetoed Senate Bill to consider, as well as line-item vetoes in 12 appropriations bills. While House members did not attempt overrides on any of the non-appropriations bills vetoed by the governor, they did successfully override three of his line-item vetoes.
By a vote of 152-2, House members approved an override motion for the governor’s veto of $150,000 in funding contained in HB 4. The funds were appropriated by the Legislature to reimburse legal costs for wedding venues that had fought a sales tax reconsideration made by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
House members also overwhelmingly supported the override of a line-item veto of $2.1 million in funding contained in HB 11. House members supported the motion by a vote of 151-3. The funding was appropriated by the General Assembly to provide a 3 percent pay increase for Children’s Division caseworkers and supervisors.
By a vote of 150-3, the House approved the override motion for the line-item veto contained in HB 12. The governor had vetoed $300,000 in funding contained in the bill that was appropriated for a task force to fight child sex abuse in Lincoln County.
The maker of the motion said, “Lincoln County has reached a critical level of crimes against children and action is needed to prevent additional physical and sexual abuse of children.”
He noted the task force was created to protect children and hold predators accountable.
“This is a small piece of pie in our budget, but it can do so much good if we get it into the hands of the right people, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Protecting the most vulnerable, our children, is at the top of our list in the House of Representatives and one we take very seriously.
Finally, House Speaker Rob Vescovo, Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, and Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher this week submitted a letter to President Joe Biden calling on the nation’s leader to provide his legal justification for a proposed vaccine mandate for private businesses. The letter, which was written by Vescovo and signed by Wiemann, Plocher, and the House Republican Caucus, refers to the president’s directive as “an egregious overreach of federal authority” and as “blatantly unconstitutional.”
The three House leaders said their goal with the letter is to give a voice to the many Missourians who are outraged by the president’s directive to enact an emergency temporary standard based on OSHA’s regulatory authority requiring private businesses with more than 100 workers to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment. They noted that as elected officials it is their duty to protect the constitutional rights of the residents of Missouri.
That’s all I have time for in this column but as always, my door is always open and I welcome your comments and concerns for District 60 so stop by or give me a call.
State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, represents the 60th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.