I had several calls and messages from folks asking about the proposed power line across Barry and McDonald County. After checking with Empire and New Mac, I found that they didn't know anything about the proposal. It appears that it has to do with the building of a high voltage line to bring additional power to Northwest Arkansas. The proposal has been floating around for a while and of the six proposed possible routes, one is on the Missouri side of the border. This is just in the planning stages but it has apparently been meeting with a lot of opposition from Arkansas residents and I assume the same will happen here. Senator Sater and I are both looking into the situation and we will keep you posted.
This week we will be going to St. Louis for our annual caucus meeting. The foremost agenda item will be looking into the possibility of veto overrides in September. We will have an opportunity to hear from bill sponsors their explanations of why we should override the Governor's vetoes. I will be offering an explanation on HB611. This bill was to address a Federal Mandate. The Federal Department of Labor directed the Missouri legislature to be in compliance with the Trade Adjustment Extension Act of 2011 which must be done by October 22, 2013. There are three parts to this mandate. Failure to comply with part one will cost the state $217 million in TANF funds, part two can cost FUTA tax credits of $95 million, and part three would cost Missouri employers $859 million. As you can see, this is a disaster in the making. One has to ask, why on earth would the Governor veto this bill and bring this down on our state? Well, it seems that on the last day of session, a Senate bill was added that redefines the language concerning misconduct when applying for unemployment insurance benefits. Currently the language in the law is unclear and allows a lot of people who really don't deserve to draw benefits because of their misconduct to get payments anyway. The wording is changed from "intentional and substantial disregard for the employers interests" to a "knowing disregard of the employer's interest, duties, and obligations". Some of the Unions are objecting to this new language and the Governor sure doesn't want to upset them. It will be really interesting to hear all the debate on which vetoes should be overridden. Personally, I think we should try to override every one of them. The bills were good enough to garner overwhelming support of the House and Senate and should reflect the wishes of the majority of our constituents.