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Disappointing Veto

This week marked another round of disappointing vetoes from the governor. On Thursday (7-10), he signed 10 pieces of legislation into law and vetoed four, including Senate Bill 694, legislation I sponsored regarding payday loan practices.

Senate Bill 694 would modify many aspects of the payday lending law and completely change the industry in our state. This measure will end consumers’ abilities to renew their loan or ask for an extension. An Extended Pay Plan (EPP) will be allowed to help pay off loans. Under the EPP, borrowers have up to 120 days to pay off their loan. The payment plan is based on the consumers’ pay periods and no interest or fees are charged during the EPP. There will be no early payment penalties, but the lender does have right of acceleration upon failure to pay. Only one EPP is allowed in a 12 month period.

Under this much-needed legislation, payday lending businesses would have to pay $500 for yearly fees, up from the current $300. These fees would go to the Missouri Division of Finance. The measure also states that signage must be posted in the lobby of such business and display the cost to borrow the money, per $100 borrowed. If we can provide the best information to consumers in a way that they can understand it, then we are already helping them make better financial decisions.

This measure moved quickly through the legislative process and was supported widely by the Silver Haired Legislature. The General Assembly will have a chance to override the governor’s veto of this important law when it returns to Jefferson City in mid-September for its annual veto session.

Senate Bills 866, 575, 675 and House Bill 1359 were also vetoed on Thursday.

Just days before (on Tuesday (7-8) our office was able to celebrate a legislative victory when the governor signed Senate Bill 706 . This legislation drafted in an effort to slow down or stop a new scam that is hitting banks and other small businesses. The scams claim “patent infringement.” Typically the scammers, called “patent trolls,” send out bundles of letters to assorted small businesses claiming they are using their patented software programs. The letters state the recipients only have two choices: (1) the small businesses can pay a fee, or (2) face costly court battles and legal fees. Scammers usually ask for $800-$1200 per employee.

This legislation develops a seven-factor testing system that a court can use to determine if there is a legitimate claim on patent infringement or not. If business owners believe that they have been a target of a bad faith assertion of patent infringement after receiving a demand letter, they have a right to a cause of action. Upon a finding by a court that the letter sender has made a bad faith assertion of patent infringement, the court allows the business owner to recover certain damages.

My July 4 celebrations started early this year on July 2 with the Alton celebration at Piney Creek Park that included fireworks, live entertainment, and lots of good food and fun.

Over the long and exciting July 4th holiday weekend, I was fortunate to be able to attend many other events as well. I enjoyed taking part in the 135th continuous Marshfield Parade on July 4. As usual, it was a well-attended event, with many floats and entries. Events included a rodeo, food, children’s activities and fireworks.

In Thayer, the annual Red, White & Blue festival included wonderful foods from the Kansas City Barbeque Society competition that included competitors from Q. Bones BBQ, from Memphis, Tenn., Gettin’ Basted, from Branson, Mo., and more. There were the traditional fireworks on July 4, along with performances by local musicians and wonderful vendors of all kinds. The highlight of the evening, besides the fireworks, was being able to present country music singer Aaron Tippin to the crowd at the Saddle Club Arena. After his concert, Mr. Tippin joined the crowd to watch the fireworks and he even chatted with many of us afterwards!

Thayer was a busy town over the long holiday weekend. On Saturday, July 5, the 31st Squires Picnic was held at the Squires Fire Department. The event featured live bandstand music and entertainers including Bluegrass Tradition, Jam Dandy Band, Southern Streak and John Anderson. As usual, the concession stands offered a complete variety of food including burgers, hot dogs, nachos, soda, popcorn, and, of course, homemade ice cream. The event also included a cake walk, with lots of homemade desserts for prizes. (Thank goodness Senate Bill 525, allowing for these items that are prepared in an individual’s home to be sold at this event, was signed!) Fireworks decorated the skies above Thayer again Saturday evening.

On July 5 I ended days of celebrating with the Ava independence Day celebration that included trail rides, a petting zoo hay rides and a very large, loud and wonderful fireworks display.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol, however during interim I may be in district. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

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