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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
This past Friday I had the opportunity to spend the day with 7th District Congressman Billy Long and Kairat Umarov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Congressman Long had invited the Ambassador and his staff to visit Southwest Missouri, and they spent two days in our part of the state touring various agriculture facilities, farms, manufacturing firms, and industries, including one in Neosho and one near Carthage. Ambassador Umarov and his staff, one of whom is an agriculture minister from their country, expressed interest in economic development and jobs creation as priorities for their people.
I have to confess that when I joined the group, I really didn’t know anything about Ambassador Umarov and the Republic of Kazakhstan. However, what I did know was from my earlier history and geography classes—the suffix “-stan” on the end of the country’s name had to mean they come from Central Asia or somewhere close to Afghanistan or Pakistan. Kazakhstan is one of five countries in their area whose name ends in “stan” (that means country, nation, or place of) and who were a part of the former Soviet Union. I have since learned a great deal about these people and their country, and much of what I learned is very impressive.
The election year of 2014 may well be remembered for the constitutional amendments/ballot measures that were placed before voters. There are nine statewide constitutional amendments, five of which went before voters at the August 5th primary. Three of those passed. The other four measures are set to appear on the November 4th General Election ballot.
The initiative and referendum procedure has been a part of Missouri’s constitution and the political process in our state since about 1910. We are one of twenty-four states that allow its citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process. This legislation can either be a state statute or a constitutional amendment. In addition, Missouri’s General Assembly can place measures on the ballot as legislatively referred constitutional amendments or legislatively referred state statutes. Missouri law has a single subject rule for all ballot measures and limits the number of sections of the constitution that any amendment may revise. No measure can be permitted for unconstitutional purposes, and any initiative that is placed before voters must also specify a funding source to cover expenditures the measure may mandate.
With the August Primary now history, it is time for Missouri legislators to turn their attention to the upcoming Veto Session, as required in Article III, Section 32 of the Missouri Constitution. Specified to begin on the second Wednesday of September, this year’s Session will convene September 10. Typically, it is over in a matter of hours, although this year could prove to be a different story.
Missouri’s regular legislative session runs from the first week in January through the second week in May. The only constitutional requirement of the session is to pass the state budget, yet each year many important legislative bills are introduced and heard in committees, debated on the floor, amended, perfected, and eventually passed out of both chambers before being sent on to the governor for his signature or his veto. These bills will either become Missouri law or be vetoed by the governor. Occasionally he will allow a bill to become law without his signature. If he chooses to neither sign nor veto the bill, it automatically becomes law forty-five days after the close of session. The vetoed bills will be taken up during the annual Veto Session.