The Missouri Legislature, which exists as a super-majority Republican held body in both the senate and the house, closed out their veto session with a resounding rebuke of governor Jay Nixon. Using their time period to overturn several pieces of legislation that met with the governor's pen, they overturned everything from expansions on predatory lending to limits on the ability of cities to control plastic bags and minimum wages.
HB 618 – Expands the types of medical professionals who can attest to a cause of death, to include physicians’ assistants, assistant physicians and advance practice registered nurses.
HB1022 – Changes the state’s restrictions for insurance refund or rebate programs.
HB1098 – Changes the state’s financial requirements for out-of-state trust companies.
HB878 – Expands the arrest and property-seizure powers of private corporate security personnel.
SB20 – Exempts commercial laundries from paying sales or use taxes on materials and utilities.
SB142 – Requires the state Department of Resources to give the General Assembly an “impact implementation report” for actions required by the EPA under the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
SB345 – Increases the fee that banks can change consumers for loans of 30 days or more, to a maximum of $100. Limit now is $75.
The bills, which provide expanded rights by lenders to require greater fees on short term loans, as well as rules that provide for a task force to refute requests by the EPA all act as part of the current agenda.
Out of all the legislation rebuked in this session, many find themselves deeply troubled by HB878, a bill that flew under that radar which Governor Jay Nixon referred to as "troubling". With HB878 now the law of the land in Missouri, corporations are allowed - with minor paperwork and little training - to offer their own private police forces that have the power to arrest and detain individuals as well as seize/confiscate property. The complete legislation is visible here: http://www.house.mo.gov/...
Under it, corporate officers are provided free roam of the state:
19 3. The authority and jurisdiction of a corporate security advisor shall be limited only by
20 the geographical limits of the state, unless the corporate security advisor's license is recognized
21 by the laws or regulations of another state or the federal government.
Private Security firms also voiced their surprise and concern when the bill passed.
As Missouri comes off of the Ferguson report, some have concerns that a newly empowered corporate police force, emboldened by the ability to search, seize and detain individuals with the full blessing of the state of Missouri opens the door for potential abuse.
Governor Jay Nixon spoke on this issue in his veto:
"As a result of legislation I approved last year, individuals may obtain a private corporate security advisor license from the state of Missouri if they satisfy the required training, education and experience. House Bill 878 would significantly expand a licensed corporate security advisor's authority and would have the Director of the Department of Public Safety confer on those individuals a "commission" if the Director deems their qualification appropriate and they are licensed peace officers. Under current law, a "commission" is more than a paper certificate - it is a grant of authority to act as a peace officer. This bill, therefore, would give an individual working for a private company the power to arrest, the power to search, and the power to seize property. House Bill No. 878 cannot receive my approval"
If a commissioned corporate security advisor's actions are deemed purely non-governmental, a citizen may rightfully assert a violation of their personal freedom or liberty, yet not receive the benefit of constitutional protection because the violation involved a private corporate security advisor. For example, a teenager who finds himself the subject of an investigation for trespassing on corporate property could be interrogated by a commissioned corporate security advisor without the benefit of Miranda warnings and be unable to successfully raise a constitutional challenge in criminal court.
Missouri's legislature long list of veto-overrides may still result in legal battles as several, including the decision to stop communities from raising their own minimum wage, were combined in a way the Missouri Supreme Court has previously refused.
For now, though, the Missouri Legislature has opened up the window to a whole new world in unchecked, uncontrolled, unaccountable police work.
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