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Nixon Faces Deadline for Legislative Action

The Democratic governor has been busy signing - and vetoing - legislation.

With time winding down for action, Gov. Jay Nixon has been busy signing - and vetoing - legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Nixon continued through the bill signing process by publicly approving two bills aimed at assisting Missourians with disabilities.

At a signing ceremony at the Paraquad Independent Living Center in St. Louis City, Nixon lauded legislation that removes the words “mental retardation” from state statutes, designates October as “Disability History and Awareness Month,” bans discrimination against people with disabilities in the realm of family rights and requires one in every four accessible parking spaces created or repainted after Aug. 28 be ‘lift van accessible.’

“When children learn to accept at a young age to accept people who are not exactly the same as they are, they’ve moved toward acceptance of all people in their culture,” Nixon said. “And that’s important, because more than 100,000 Missourians have a developmental disability. And many more have a family member with a developmental disability.”

“This legislation helps ensure that as a state, our words, actions and laws do not tolerate discrimination,” Nixon added.

The two bills signed on Tuesday passed both the House and the Senate without opposition.

Here are some other bills that Nixon took action on recently:

-          Nixon placed his signature on legislation sponsored by Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, that would allow employees of certain employers to take leave of absences to “perform civil air patrol emergency service duty or counter narcotics missions.”

The bill’s summary states an employee “will not lose time, leave, or any other rights or benefits as a result of this leave of absence.”

“This is an all-volunteer force that has saved hundreds of lives and donated thousands of hours of their personal time to assist their fellow Missourians in times of emergency,” said Lembke, who represents Oakville in the Missouri Senate, in a statement. “The amount of human suffering, as well as the tax dollars the patrol has saved, is incalculable. It is an honor to support them in this legislative mission.”

-          Nixon also signed legislation that, among other things, lowered the minimum age someone can receive a conceal and carry permit. Rep. Jeanie Riddle’s legislation lowers that minimum age to 21.

Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville, was supportive of that bill, stating in a Capitol Report earlier this year that the bill takes “steps to protect and advance our 2nd Amendment rights.”

“Missouri is currently the only state that requires someone to be 23 before they are able to obtain a conceal and carry permit,” Haefner wrote in the report. “This bill reduces that age requirement to 21 in order to be in step with states around us.”

-          Nixon vetoed elections-related legislation that would have pushed Missouri’s presidential primary to March. That aspect of the bill was included to prevent the state from being penalized from having their primary before New Hampshire’s.

In his veto message, Nixon cited opposition to provisions eliminating  write-in candidates for municipal elections and prompting special elections in the case of statewide vacancies.

The move sparked an angry reaction from the Missouri Republican Party. In a statement, MRP Chairman David Cole said that Nixon “disrupted the presidential nominating process with the stroke of a pen.”

“By vetoing the bipartisan elections bill, Nixon has ensured that Missourians’ votes for the next President of the United States will not matter as much as those from 49 other states,” Cole said. 

But Nixon said the offending provisions were unacceptable.

“I certainly support moving the presidential primary back,” Nixon told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he did not support eliminating the write-in option in certain situations. “There are folks who have been written-in in ballots who have won races in [local elections]. And we’re clearly looking forward to working with folks to get a clean bill done.”

Nixon also said there could be enough to move the primary before it takes palce.

“There are lots of methods and lots of ways to do that,” Nixon added. “It’s amazing how the legislative process can work so effectively if people come to agreement.”

Nixon has until July 14 to either sign or veto bills passed by the Missouri legislature. If he takes no action on a bill, it effectively become law.

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