While serving as acting governor, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe signed legislation Monday extending the petition process for the creation of a museum and cultural district.  

SB 397 extends the petition process to create a museum or cultural district from five to 15 years after a presidential disaster declaration has been established. The bill was championed by Sen. Bill White and Rep. Lane Roberts, both Republicans. 

Kehoe signed the bill Monday in Joplin, where a catastrophic tornado killed 161 people as it tore through the town in 2011. 

“Recovery from a devastating tornado takes time, and residents should not be forced to sacrifice their efforts toward creating a museum and cultural district as recovery takes place,” Kehoe said in a statement. “Senate Bill 397 will allow Joplin, or any other Missouri city or town affected by a disaster, additional time to accomplish this important endeavor.” 

Kehoe is serving as acting governor until July 2 as Gov. Mike Parson is overseas on a personal vacation with his wife. While the terms of the agreement stress Kehoe is not to sign bills without Parson’s express written consent, Missouri’s chief executive did already give Kehoe permission to approve a few pieces of legislation; SB 397 was among those.

Earlier Monday, Kehoe officially requested another federal disaster declaration to assist 41 counties still reeling from devastating flooding, storms, and tornadoes since April. 

Parson appointed Kehoe to lieutenant governor in June 2018. He previously served as a state senator where he held a variety of leadership positions — from majority floor leader to chairing committees.