JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson signed nine bills into law Tuesday, concluding signings from the 2020 legislative session. Of the bills that made it to the governor’s desk this year, two were vetoed.
HB 1854 would have made changes to political subdivisions, including prohibiting the state auditor from conducting performance audits during audits of a county office, allowing state employees to run for office if they were not part of the Merit or Uniform Classification and Pay Systems, and creating a “Missouri Local Expenditure Database” to track data on local government spending, among numerous other changes and provisions.
Parson said the bill was vetoed due to the number of items included in the language.
“There were multiple reasons on that bill,” Parson said. “I think it had 37 provisions in it, so there were multiple reasons we vetoed it. General Counsel went through it and the veto letter has seven or eight things in it, including multiple subjects there had never been hearings on.”
Parson’s veto letter cited seven issues with the bill, including many that he felt did not relate to the underlying bill’s purpose, a violation of Article III of the Missouri Constitution, which requires that a bill only contains provisions on a single subject.
Other issues reported in the letter include the criminalization of school districts or charter schools advocating for ballot measures, a change to candidate declaration deadlines for subdivisions, modifications to the Missouri Works Program, the removal of a requirement for county officials to vacate their office of charged with a misdemeanor, and restrictions on the state auditor examining third-class counties if the county elected not to be audited.
SB 718 included various provisions on military service members and families, including establishing November as Military Family Month, creating a program to assist military families looking for legal counsel, the inclusion of surviving spouses in the merit system, increase protections for children in military families, and more.
Parson’s veto letter of the bill noted that it would have required a constitutional amendment to create a new department, known as the Department of Military Forces, given that the constitution allows for 15 state departments in Missouri.
The letter also expressed concern over a provision that would have included part-time jobs as part of the Missouri Works Program.
Parson signed a total of nine bills on Tuesday to conclude the passage of 2020 bills. Bills signed include one allowing motorcycle riders over the age of 26 to ride without a helmet, one establishing the “Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act,” and one expanding the definition of a service animal.
“This year’s legislative session was very challenging for obvious reasons,” Parson said in a statement. “However, the General Assembly pushed through these challenges and continued to work for the people of Missouri. We appreciate their efforts to get several important pieces of legislation across the finish line despite the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19.”
Parson signed 42 bills this year, including 19 appropriations bills.
This story has been updated with additional information from the Governor’s Office. It was originally published on July 14.