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Parson hits the brakes on bill allowing people ride motorcycles without helmets


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson announced a veto of a bill that would have granted certain Missourians the ability to operate motorcycles sans a helmet late Friday afternoon.  

SB 147 included a provision that would have allowed individuals over the age of 18 who purchased special insurance to cover a potential accident be exempt from having to wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle in the state. This wasn’t the first time similar legislation was brought up in the General Assembly, but it has never been successful. 

Additionally, the bill included measures to establish a digital driver’s license program through the Department of Revenue, increase motor vehicle license offices’ processing fees, allow left turns onto one-way streets after stopping at a red light and yielding to other traffic and pedestrians, and create a “Towing Task Force.” 

One of the more controversial components of the bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. David Sater, was the helmet provision, however. The measure mirrored Republican Sen. Eric Burlison’s SB 120 which didn’t make it through the legislature. 

In his veto letter, Parson said the bill “contains many provisions of which I approve.” He didn’t specifically mention the helmet law changes but did point to the task force as being redundant and other provisions included in the package “are likely unconstitutional.”  

Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp, who was a vocal opponent during the legislative session, tweeted her gratitude for Parson’s veto Friday. 

“Not requiring helmets for motorcyclists was bad policy for Missouri. Your veto is appreciated,” Schupp said.

“I think rules and regulations that serve as protections are good laws put in place. We are going to increase deaths here in Missouri, and for a group that is pro-life, I think we should think hard about this,” Schupp had previously said from the Senate floor

Including Missouri, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted universal helmet laws, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Only three states — Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire — do not have helmet requirements. 

Parson has until July 14 to approve or veto legislation. 

Senate green-lights partial motorcycle helmet law repeal despite minor roadblocks on the floor