Capitol wrap-up: Week of May 4

Republicans override tax cut veto

A unified Republican majority yesterday was able to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a controversial tax cut, 109-46.

House Republicans had more than the necessary two-thirds majority to override the governor’s veto, thanks to the support of Democratic Rep. Keith English, who broke party lines to support the override. English is a union electrician by trade and explained last week that workers and small businesses alike would benefit from the lower tax rate.

Senate Bill 509, the proposal in question, would gradually lower Missouri’s top income tax rate from 6 to 5.5 percent and allow individual earners to claim up to 25 percent of their business income, starting in 2017. Each year, though, state revenue would have to have grown — a failsafe introduced by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit.

English agreed with Kraus that with the failsafe in place, the proposal won’t be nearly as detrimental to education funding as is claimed by Nixon, a Democrat.

In a statement issued following the override, Nixon argued that the tax cut’s wording fails to protect Missouri’s public school funding and could eventually tarnish the state’s AAA credit rating.

“While scaled back from last year’s billion-dollar House Bill 253, Senate Bill 509 fails to prioritize or adequately protect public education at a time when quality public schools are more important than ever to our ability to create jobs in the global economy,” Nixon said.

Cannabis oil bill heads to Nixon’s desk

A proposal now in its final stages would allow epilepsy patients access to a potentially life-saving treatment.

Cannabis oil — and only oil high in cannabidiol, or CBD, as opposed to marijuana’s psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — has been used by caregivers in other states to treat cases of severe epilepsy, even saving the life of a five-year-old child in Colorado whose parents had used up all other treatment options.

In Missouri, the legislation to expand that treatment, House Bill 2238, could go into effect this year, given Nixon’s signature. It was already passed by the General Assembly — unanimously in the Senate, and 130-12 in the House.

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