We are all inundated with information when the governor vetoes bills, but we aren’t given as much information when bills are signed into law.

We are all inundated with information when the governor vetoes bills, but we aren’t given as much information when bills are signed into law.

Senate Bill 680 is a good example of a compromise bill. Some years back the federal government said that a convicted drug felon was unable to apply for food stamps. This law had some pretty big defects and the feds allowed the individual states to decide on enforcement. The biggest complaint was if a person was convicted of marijuana use and served time for the offense, they were unable to qualify after serving their time.

Missouri and nine other states still applied this statute. In recent years, there have been several senators that really pushed for us to lift this ban. This year the bill contained a clause that prohibits food stamps from being used in liquor stores, casinos, or strip clubs.

It also prohibits purchase of alcohol, lottery tickets, tobacco products, or any item marketed primarily for adults. Never mind that this is common sense and we shouldn’t have to even consider it, the law allowed these things. Now we have attempted passing that bill for the four years I’ve been there and couldn’t get it past the senate. In conference negotiations, substance abuse training and testing for alcohol and drugs were added to the food stamp ban and the bill gained approval. When you look at the big picture, it was really a pretty good trade.

The Federal EPA blessed us with new regulations regarding wood stoves and heaters. In short, most stove manufacturers would not be able to continue in business. It was their intent that the same regulations they are trying to apply to coal in power plants would apply to our stoves and fireplaces. We could, as a a legislative body, prohibit our state DNR from implementing those regulations but only with house and senate approval and the governor’s signature.

This sounds like it ought to be a no-brainer, but the large number of legislators in our major metropolitan areas could care less about wood heat. Once again, senate and house leaders stepped in and brokered deals to get the necessary votes for passage.

I’m still waiting for the governor to sign our bill on child abuse. Because we added language to investigate the roles of judges, juvenile officers, and foster homes to our original bill, he may be inclined to just let it quietly become law.

There are a lot more bills on his desk and some of them will surely be vetoed, but the really hot issues like the Education reform for St. Louis won’t be easy to put off much longer.

There was an editorial in the Joplin Globe concerning “Ethics Reform.” It neglected to inform it’s readers that the reason Missouri has no ethics law is the current governor and attorney general asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the laws that had been in effect for 10 years. Their reason for this was probably to get a new law that would politically favor one group or another. I am told that it took six or eight years to get that law passed originally and there’s no reason to hope that a new one will be crafted any sooner. As far as using lobbyist money, all of us in southwest accepted $5,000 or less last year. I spend any money that lobbyists send me on functions in the district. School carnivals, benefits, fundraisers, etc. which I always get invited to. We also make a practice of having lobbyists provide lunches for the 8th graders when they visit the capitol.

There will probably be more bills signed this week, at least we can hope. Until then, I am and remain in your service.

Bill Lant represents the people of Newton and McDonald counties in the Missouri House of Representatives.