Gov. Jay Nixon today signed 14 bills, including House Bill 1371, which addresses the concerns raised by the Governor as well as law enforcement groups and victims' advocates about Senate Bill 491, a comprehensive criminal code overhaul that became law in May. House Bill 1371 fulfills a commitment made by the sponsors of Senate Bill 491 to fix drafting errors that would have made it more difficult to prosecute drunk drivers and weakened laws that help prevent the purchase of large amounts of pseudoephedrine for use in methamphetamine manufacturing.
"The rewrite of our criminal laws has been a lengthy, complex and vital undertaking, and I appreciate the work of the General Assembly and others who have worked on this effort," Gov. Nixon said. "By addressing drafting errors in the previous bill, this legislation ensures our law enforcement officers will continue to have the tools they need to bring drunk drivers to justice and fight the scourge of meth in our communities."
The Governor's office worked with the bill's sponsors on language to fix drafting errors identified in the bill review process of Senate Bill 491, including issues raised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association. Specifically, Senate Bill 491 would have made the refusal to take a breathalyzer or other test to measure blood alcohol level inadmissible as evidence unless the driver is under the age of 21. Another provision would have weakened laws that help to prevent the purchase of large amounts of pseudoephedrine for use in methamphetamine manufacturing. House Bill 1371 fixes these drafting errors.
In addition to House Bill 1371, the Governor today also signed:
Senate Bill 621, which modifies various provisions of law relating to judicial procedure, including laws related to the publication of the statutes, garnishments, criminal procedure, judicial resources, court surcharges, law enforcement liability, and crime prevention;
Senate Bill 655 and House Bill 1410, which modify laws relating to landlord tenant actions;
Senate Bill 672, which modifies several provisions relating to political subdivisions;
Senate Bill 706, which prohibits bad faith assertions of patent infringement to combat so-called "patent trolls" that prey on Missouri businesses and individuals ;
Senate Bill 735, which relates to campground guests ;
Senate Bill 890, which creates a rule for determining proper venue in cases alleging a tort in which the plaintiff was first injured in connection with railroad operations outside of the United States;
House Bill 1075, which changes the laws regarding unclaimed property;
House Bill 1217, which protects public employees' retirement security by prohibiting pension advances, and was supported by both State Treasurer Clint Zweifel and Attorney General Chris Koster;
House Bill 1231, an omnibus bill containing a number of provisions relating to judicial procedures;
House Bill 1238, which changes the laws regarding court costs;
House Bill 1665, which changes the laws regarding the administration of justice, including making it illegal to solicit or accept a fee or other consideration to remove an individual's criminal information from a print or electronic medium; and
House Bill 2029, which reauthorizes an expiring exemption for replacement parts to aircraft.
The Governor today also vetoed Senate Bill 615. The bill would reduce government transparency by exempting certain records of the Lieutenant Governor from disclosure. As indicated in the veto message, the State Auditor recently found that the Lieutenant Governor lacks statutory authority in areas involving the referenced records.