With Republican Governor Mike Parson’s signature on five more pieces of legislation Friday, fewer than 20 measures are left unaddressed by the head of state.
Since taking office June 1st, the same day that former governor Eric Greitens signed 77 bills on his last day in office, Parson has signed the majority of the 143 bills passed by the legislature this year.
He has still not added his signature to a measure Republicans have prioritized, but never finalized in previous years, a rollback of the state’s prevailing wage law. The partial repeal of the law cleared the legislature on the final day of this year’s session.
Under the plan, there would be no prevailing wage unless there are 1,000 reportable hours of pay for a particular occupation in a given county or locality. The prevailing wage in such circumstances would be replaced by a county’s construction minimum wage. That rate of pay would amount to 120% of average wages determined by the state Economic Development Department. The change in the law would not impact projects worth less than $75,000.
Parson has issued 21 line-item vetoes of the state budget, totaling $12 million, but has yet to reject measures otherwise put forth by lawmakers. Any bill the governor fails to take action on by July 14th will become law automatically once it’s authenticated by the secretary of state.
The general assembly also approved 12 House and Senate resolutions that don’t necessarily require the Governor’s signature. Parson took action Thursday on one resolution which included language seeking his attention. He signed a resolution authored by Democratic Representative Bruce Franks Jr. of St. Louis that declares youth violence as a public health epidemic.
Franks gave an emotional description of his experience as a youth mentor in his district during his presentation of the measure in February. “Last year alone I lost 17 young people between the ages of 16 through 24, all to gun violence, all same community,” said Franks Jr.
The measure notes the peak years for violent youth offenses are between the ages of 15 and 18 when students are in high school. It cites a 2000 surgeon general’s report that calls for violent youth to be placed into intervention programs rather than incarceration.
The resolution also declares June 7th as “Christopher Harris Day” in Missouri, in honor of Franks’ brother who was killed at age nine while playing in front of his home. Harris died while when a drug dealer used him as a human shield in a gunfight with a rival. The resolution sponsored in the Senate by Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis.
Among the measures Parson will sign Friday is one to limit prescriptions of opioid medications to a seven days supply and one that designates every August as Shingles Awareness and Prevention Month.
The 143 bills passed by the legislature this year is nearly double the total count of 75 in 2017 when the Senate bogged down while several Republican members sparred on a regular basis with former GOP Governor Greitens.