July 7, 2015

Missouri governor orders agencies to comply with legalization of same-sex marriage

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has ordered all departments, agencies, boards and commissions in his administration to do what is necessary to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Governor Jay Nixon signs an executive order instructing state agencies to take steps needed to comply with a June 26, 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.  (courtesy; Jay Nixon's Twitter account)

Governor Jay Nixon signs an executive order instructing state agencies to take steps needed to comply with a June 26, 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide. (courtesy; Jay Nixon’s Twitter account)

Nixon says the order makes clear that local governments must comply with the ruling as well. One Missouri county, Schuyler, is still not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Nixon also called again on the Missouri legislature to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would bar discrimination against LGBT Missourians in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

“Same-sex couples now have the right to get married, but here in Missouri, individuals can still be fired for being gay. That’s wrong, it’s not who we are, and it must change,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s order today also rescinds an executive order issued in November, 2013, that directed the Department of Revenue to accept jointly-filed state tax returns from same-sex couples legally married in other states. His order today makes it unnecessary.

Key bills await action as deadline for Missouri governor nears

Expect a flurry of announcements in the next week, as time runs out for Governor Jay Nixon to act on legislation before it becomes law without his action.

The Missouri State Capitol

The Missouri State Capitol

Among legislation Governor Nixon has yet to act on is the municipal court reform bill, SB 5.

Touted by supporters as a response to social issues in Ferguson, the bill would cap at 20-percent the amount of a city’s revenue that can come from fines and fees except for municipalities in St. Louis County, where the cap would be 12.5-percent. Opponents say the cap should be the same statewide. It would also bar the jailing of a person for a minor traffic violation and limit fines for such offenses to 300-dollars.

Another bill awaiting action, HB 722, would prevent cities from banning the use of plastic bags by stores and from setting their own minimum wage. Backers say both will help businesses, opponents call it an attack on local government control.

Two other bills would allow victims of sexual assault to get orders of protection and would allow the state to intervene when a child is sexually abused by another child.  Those are SB 321 and SB 341.

Governor Nixon must act on those and a number of other bills by next Tuesday, or let them become law without his action.

Nixon signs bills to remember or honor people and causes

A series of bills signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon create several new days, weeks, and months of awareness in Missouri.

Flags at state buildings like the Capitol would be lowered to half mast for a week, rather than just a day, in honor of fallen law enforcement officers, under one of the bills signed into law by Governor Nixon.  (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Flags at state buildings like the Capitol would be lowered to half mast for a week, rather than just a day, in honor of fallen law enforcement officers, under one of the bills signed into law by Governor Nixon. (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Among those, a bill to extend Missouri Peace Officers Memorial Day from May 15 to the whole week on which May 15 falls, during which time law enforcement officers who have been killed or disabled will be remembered and flags at government buildings will be flown at half-mast.

Missourians will also asked to raise awareness of sex trafficking during the month of January, and bone up on safe boating during the week ahead of Memorial Day.

Jackie Robinson will be remembered April 15 and the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, will be commemorated December 4.

October 16 will now be Walt Disney – A Day to Dream Day, the second Monday in April will be Missouri Lineworker Appreciation Day in honor of electric line workers, and Missourians are asked to be aware of engineers during the third week in February.

 

More rain, flooding this week means more danger for drivers

More rain this week means more flooding, and more danger of getting caught in a flood while driving.

Emergency responders and experts recommend never driving into high water, and avoiding driving at night when flooding is possible.  (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

Emergency responders and experts recommend never driving into high water, and avoiding driving at night when flooding is possible. (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

Flash floods cause more deaths in the U.S. than any other weather phenomenon and more than half of those deaths are vehicle-related. Some deaths have already occurred in flash floods in Missouri this year and more flooding is happening with repeated rain this week.

Connie Burnham with the University of Missouri Extension says once a person is caught in a flash flood while driving options are limited, but getting out of the car is recommended.

“From there you just hope that you’re going to be able to either ride it out where your vehicle is going to stay upright and it’s not going to cover it, which it could, or that you’re going to be able to get to some kind of safety by trees and limbs that might be hanging out or something that you can grab onto that will stabilize you,” said Burnham.

She says the best thing to do is to avoid travel when flooding is possible, particularly at night when high water could be hard to see in time to stop.

“Even those roads that you’re traveling on, that you normally travel on, may become flooded very quickly,” said Burnham. “If it’s dark, you first of all don’t know if there’s a road in front of you, or you don’t know that there might have been debris that was coming with the water.”

Burnham also advises never intentionally driving into high water.

Missouri Capitol cornerstone re-dedicated (AUDIO)

On June 24, 1915, the cornerstone of the Missouri State Capitol was laid. In that cornerstone was sealed a time capsule that was opened last month. Today, Missouri marked that anniversary with a ceremony honoring the importance of the Capitol, and announcing what would go in a new time capsule to be opened in 2115.

(from left) Former Missourinet news director and master of ceremonies Bob Priddy, Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Mike Kehoe, Missouri Supreme Court Judge George W. Draper III, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin on the stage at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Missouri State Capitol cornerstone.

(from left) Former Missourinet news director and master of ceremonies Bob Priddy, Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Mike Kehoe, Missouri Supreme Court Judge George W. Draper III, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin on the stage at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Missouri State Capitol cornerstone.

Former Missourinet News Director Bob Priddy emceed the ceremony. He asked people in the crowd to remember that even as the previous Capitol building burned in 1911, an effort began to make some town other than Jefferson City the State Capitol.

Several power senators and other officials met that night to begin a campaign to counter that effort.

“On August 1, 1911, the bond issue went to a vote. It needed two-thirds approval. It got 75-percent for the bonds to pay for the construction of a building here in Jefferson City, the permanent state capitol city,” said Priddy. “That building, that vote, this cornerstone signifies that the seat of government would be secure to Jefferson City for as long as there is a Missouri.”

Governor Jay Nixon (D) recalled that the legislature passed, and he signed, a bill that will see the state invest $40-million in work on the Capitol. He called on present and future state leaders, including himself in his own challenge, to build on that investment and to work to preserve and protect the Capitol.

The plaque that will be placed to mark the re-dedication of the cornerstone.

The plaque that will be placed to mark the re-dedication of the cornerstone.

“A century ago those who designed and constructed this Capitol building – the third one in Jefferson City … envisioned it serving the people of Missouri for many generations, and so it has,” said Nixon. “Let’s stay true to our responsibility for both this generation of Missourians and for those generations to come after us.”

The original cornerstone was re-commemorated in a ceremony by Freemasons from the Grand Lodge of Missouri and the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge. A new plaque was also unveiled, marking today’s ceremony.

Governor Nixon had invited Missourians to nominate items to be put into the new time capsule, and today he announced what those items will be.

Those will include a copy of Priddy’s book, The Art of the Capitol, baseballs autographed by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, an I-Phone, emblems from Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC, and a photo of the aftermath of the May, 2011, Joplin tornado.

AUDIO:  Hear Bob Priddy’s remarks at the rededication ceremony

AUDIO:  Hear Governor Jay Nixon’s remarks at the rededication ceremony

Check back with this story for a complete list of the items that will go in the new cornerstone time capsule.