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New Missouri Laws - 130-Plus - About To Go Into Effect

Missouri Capitol
Missouri Capitol

As of Thursday, all Missouri state laws will be revised to remove references to “mentally retarded’’ and “mental retardation.’’ In their place will be the phrases “intellectually disabled’’ and “intellectual disability.”

Owners of surface mines will have to notify more property owners before starting operations. Insurers must cover oral anti-cancer medications if they cover intravenous ones. Casinos can offer lines of credit to gamblers.

And breastfeeding mothers can be excused from jury duty.

Such are the matters dealt with in the roughly 130 bills, which the governor signed into law weeks ago, that officially become law Thursday.

Most are narrowly crafted pieces of legislation, such as a measure rescheduling Missouri’s once-every-four-years presidential primary to March instead of February.

The few major bills that go into effect include the reauthorization of the Missouri RX program that provide prescription-drug benefits for low-income elderly and the disabled, and several telecommunications measures that generally curb the powers of local governments to regulate the industry.

Also going into effect are changes in the state’s laws governing unemployment compensation, which will make it tougher for fired workers to qualify for benefits.

The General Assembly’s major overhaul last session of the state’s crime statutes, which the governor allowed to become law without his signature, generally doesn’t go into effect until 2017.

One bill is in limbo, but not because of anything the governor or legislators did. Nixon had signed into law a bill -- sponsored by Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City -- that bars state incentives from going to companies that move from four Missouri counties in the Kansas City area to four nearby counties in neighboring Kansas. But the bill was to go into effect only if Kansas passed a similar law. So far, that hasn't happened.

Nixon vetoed most of the marquee proposals that legislators approved this year – from a 72-hour waiting period for abortions to tax breaks for a variety of businesses.Also in that category is the school-transfer bill dealing with students in unaccredited school districts.

The fate of the vetoed bills will be determined in a couple weeks when lawmakers gather for their annual veto session and attempt to override some or all of Nixon’s rejections.

Nixon fired off a record number of vetoes: 33, not including the line-item vetoes of numerous budget items.

The General Assembly already has overridden one of his vetoes:; the phased-in income tax cut that now will go into effect in 2017.

The bills that go into effect Thursday include some mundane measures, such as one that designates each March 27th as “Medical Radiation Safety Awareness Day,” and another that declares “jumping jacks” to be the official state exercise.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.