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9-9-16 Missouri's House Minority Leader prepares for final veto session
The leader of the House’s Democratic minority is preparing for his final official duty in that role: the 2016 veto session.

The House bill that poses perhaps the greatest concern for Representative Jake Hummel’s (St. Louis) caucus is HB 1631, which would create the framework for requiring voters to present photo identification at Missouri’s polls. The bill would allow a voter lacking such an ID to sign an affidavit swearing he or she does not have a photo ID, and then cast a ballot using another form of ID. The State of Missouri would then provide a nondriver’s license and pay the costs for any documents needed to secure it, such as a birth certificate or social security card. Otherwise, the individual could cast a provisional ballot to be counted when he or she returns to the polling place with a photo ID.

Hummel thinks there is a “pretty good” possibility that Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 1631 will be overturned, and said that would be a “little disappointing.”

“I think that it just adds another layer of difficulty to the voting process,” (Audio) said Hummel. “Any time that we make it more difficult for the electorate to vote I think it’s a problem. We already have a very small percentage of people that actually turn out and vote. Adding another layer to restrictions doesn’t seem to be in Missourian’s best interests, in my opinion.” (Audio)

HB 1631 passed out of the House with 112 votes and out of the Senate with 24; enough in each chamber to overturn the governor’s veto. 109 votes are needed in the House for an overturn. Voters will be asked to consider an accompanying Constitutional Amendment in November that would allow HB 1631 to be effective.

The other bill of greatest concern for Democrats is SB 656, which contains several sections related to gun rights. Its main provisions would allow the concealed carrying of weapons in public by individuals who have not completed a gun safety training course or passed a criminal background check (both are required now by law); would implement a “stand your ground” law under which people who believe their lives are in danger can use lethal force without a legal duty to try first to retreat; and would expand Missouri’s “castle doctrine” law to allow invited guests in a home to use deadly force on intruders.

Hummel believes for SB 656 to become law would be “dangerous” for the average Missourian.

He said when Missouri’s concealed carry provisions became law, “What we were all told was that at least there will be some fairly intensive training for people that are allowed to have concealed carry permits … the sheriff’s department would have some kind of oversight on whether or not they thought it was safe to give out these permits, and now we’re going to get rid of that last layer of protection.” (Audio)

SB 656 passed the state House with 114 “aye” votes and the Senate with 24.

Hummel also agrees with Governor Nixon’s projection that if vetoes are overturned on three bills: SB 641, HB 2030, and SB 1025, that would cost Missouri another $60-million. That would come as state revenue has not been meeting projections and Nixon has already blocked the spending of $115.5-million in the current fiscal year’s budget.

SB 641 would make disaster payments to farmers non-taxable; HB 2030 would allow capital gains deductions for businesses that switch to an employee ownership model; and SB 1025 would create a tax break for instructional classes such as yoga and gym classes.

“We give away tax incentives all the time with what appears to be no foresight into what that’s going to do to our revenue the next year,” (Audio) said Hummel. “If these things are so important perhaps waiting to another year when we have a better budget situation would be the fiscally conservative thing to do.” (Audio)

Hummel’s caucus has 45 members to Republicans’ 114, but he said being in such a comparatively small minority hasn’t always mattered, especially when it comes to overriding vetoes.

“Things fly very quickly toward the end of session. A lot of bills, a lot of legislation make it through perhaps not under the best scrutiny, and I think that you’ve at least got legislators that will admit that upon further review of something, when you have the proper time to examine the legislation, we make mistakes and sometimes things get through that once they’re looked at in the entirety perhaps we’ve made a mistake, and that’s why we have veto session,” said Hummel. “Cooler heads often prevail regardless of party and you look at what’s best for the state, and that’s a good thing.”(Audio)

The veto session begins Wednesday, September 14 at noon at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.
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