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Mo. lawmakers convene for veto session Sept. 11

State income tax reduction, federal gun law nullification top list

 University of Missouri News Service

Two bills vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon have drawn national attention to Missouri. One would cut income taxes and another would nullify federal gun laws in the state.

The gun law act has raised substantial controversy regarding regulations of firearms, firearms in schools and the legality of publishing a gun owner’s name in a public forum.

The bill specifies all federal laws that limit the people’s right to keep and bear arms invalid and not recognized by the state government.

If passed, no public officer or state employee would have authority to enforce any federal gun laws – doing so would be a class A misdemeanor.

The bill also prohibits any person or entity (reporters, news outlets, etc.) from publishing the name, address or other identifying information of any gun owner or potential gun owner in the state.

Bill sponsor Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St.Peters, says the provision was added in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook, Conn. tragedy and the concerns of the Department of Revenue’s mishandling of conceal and carry information.

“This type of information, that is not public information, will be much more secure and Missourians can be more confident that it is,” said Funderburk.

Attorney General Chris Koster, and several other leaders of the Democratic party, strongly oppose the bill calling some of the provisions unconstitutional.

Koster wrote in his statement, “while state legislatures have occasionally sought to nullify various federal laws through history, the U.S. Supreme Court has shown no patience for these exercises.”

Gov. Jay Nixon cited the bill as unconstitutional and an infringement on the exercise of free speech.

Nixon vetoed a total of 29 bills passed by lawmakers in the 2013 session – the most he’s vetoed in a single session.

The vetoed bills range from one seeking to remove some names from the online sex offender registry to a measure banning local governments from restricting the celebration of federal holidays.

And while the Republican party has a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly, that’s no guarantee of success. Recent public statements by several Republican representatives indicate support for the income tax cut bill may not be enough to override Nixon’s veto. Only two Republican representatives or two Republican senators would need to defect from the party to dash the hopes of a party-line override vote.

There have been only eight veto overrides since Missouri’s 1945 constitution required a two-thirds majority of both chambers. Nixon’s veto has been blocked twice – once in 2011 to create a new congressional district map and in 2012 on a bill expanding exemptions for health insurance coverage of abortion, contraception and sterilization.

Some lawmakers plan to try again if veto override efforts are unsuccessful.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who supported an effort to alter the state’s sex offender registry, said he wants to see another bill next session if the veto cannot be overridden.

The co-sponsor of a bill banning any restrictions on federal holidays by public entities, Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, said it would be revised and reintroduced if the override doesn’t happen.

The veto session begins Wednesday, Sept. 11, and can last no longer than 10 days, which has never occurred.

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