It appeared dead earlier in the week. It revived early this morning and sailed to passage.
Repeal of the controversial Village Law won approval in the House on a 131-7 vote. SB 765 became embroiled in controversy this final week of the legislative session, a focus of heated exchanges both on the floor of the Senate and behind closed doors in a House Republican Caucus meeting. The repeal now goes to the governor for his signature.
On Wednesday, the House failed to keep the bill clean of any amendments, thought at the time to have ended any chance of the bill making it through the process with the days of the session running out. The House sponsor, at the time, stated that the bill wasn’t dead, but was on life support.
The Village Law is controversial both for its content and for how it came into law. It allows a single landowner to declare his property a village, exempt from local county regulation. It was slipped into a much larger bill the waning days of the last session with the approval of House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill). Few lawmakers knew it was in the bill. Several lawmakers accused Jetton of helping campaign donor Robert Plaster, a Lebanon businessman who had been frustrated by Stone County officials who had blocked his development efforts at Table Rock Lake. The repeal doesn’t contain a clause to make it go into effect upon the signature of the governor, which could give Plaster enough time to incorporate his village.
Lawmakers further accused Jetton of manipulating the process during the last week to keep the bill from passing. In the end, though, Jetton agreed to allow the bill to come to the House floor where it easily won passage.