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.

 

$70 million Powerball ticket sold in Missouri on Independence Day

Someone in Missouri hit the $70 million Powerball jackpot on Independence Day.  Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Scheve Reardon says the state has had good jackpot odds.

missouri lottery

Missouri Lottery

“We love the fact that we have the second most winning numbers of Powerball in the history of the Powerball game,” said Scheve.

She says the prize is also a great bonus for the retailer who sold the ticket.  Reardon says winning retailer stores have historically increased sales by at least 10% following a Powerball jackpot.

“We do always say, as soon as we release the location, all the people are going to go running to that store to buy new tickets because they think lightning is going to strike there. We love that.”

The Missouri Lottery will be giving more than $800,000 of the jackpot prize to elementary, secondary and higher education in the state.

The identity of the winner has not been released.  The winner will become the owner of the ninth largest jackpot prize ever won in Missouri.

Fewer boating accidents, more traffic accidents over July 4th weekend

The number of boating crashes and drownings over the Independence Day weekend decreased, but traffic accidents jumped statewide compared to the same period last year.  State Patrol Captain John Hotz tells Missourinet there were six boating accidents over the weekend resulting in four injuries, no fatalities or drownings.

The Water Patrol division of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The Water Patrol division of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

There were more than 300 traffic crashes statewide resulting in 140 injuries and ten fatalities during the holiday weekend.  All are increases from last year, when the patrol handled more than 260 vehicle crashes with 121 injuries and nine fatalities.

“We’re happy about the fact that we are down as far as boating accidents and drownings go,” said Hotz. “Of course, we were up slightly on road crashes. That’s something obviously we’ll keep focusing and keeping working on.”

Captain Hotz says the number of traffic fatalities has increased 6% this year on Missouri roadways. He says there tends to be a significant portion of deadly crashes that occur during the summer.

“These next six to eight weeks are pretty critical. There’s a lot of traffic out there and typically it’s the time when we have a lot of vehicle fatalities.”

There have been 65 fatality crashes so far this year, compared to 54 during the same time last year.