There’s a nice little legal citation having to do with the literal meaning in a bill and legislative intent in Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 509:
….Legislators have speculated in public comments that a court might ignore this clear and unambiguous language to avoid dramatic consequences to the state’s fiscal well-being that would result. However, post-enactment statements of individual legislators after a problem has been identified do not constitute legislative intent. “legislative intent can only be derived from the words of the statute itself.” State v. Rowe, 63 S.W. 3d 647, 650 (Mo. banc 2002); see also Spradlin v. City of Fulton, 982 S.W. 2d 255, 261 (Mo. banc 1998)(Price, J.)(“[C]ourts must give effect to the language as written.”). Once a law has been enacted, a court must enforce the law by its terms and not by what individual legislators believed they were enacting. See, e.g., Pipe fabricators, Inc. v. Director of revenue, 654 S.W. 2d 74, 76 (Mo. banc 1983)(affidavit of a former state senator as to intent of use tax provision was inadmissible since court is bound by express written law, and not what may have been intended)….
[bold emphasis added]
Price? Price? Where have we seen that name before?
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Editorial: Oops. Legislature accidentally eliminates the income tax
April 22, 2014 4:30 pm • By the Editorial Board
….Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice William Ray Price said he thought Missouri courts would read the language as Mr. Lamping intended….
Evidently that was then, this is now.
Again, from Governor Nixon’s veto:
….More fundamentally, passing a bill with a problem and then hoping a judge will fix it is an abdication of the legislature’s responsibility under our tripartite system of government. Under our Constitution, “[t]he legislative branch is exclusively vested with the power to make laws.” Mo. Const. Art III, section 1. This means that lawmakers must enact laws, not merely ideas for a court to one day mold into something workable. The words on the page are what matter, for those are the words that guide the conduct of Missourians. The test is not what individual legislators say they meant – the test is what the words actually say….
Do you think they included that particular Missouri Supreme Court opinion on purpose?
Bill signing Kabuki (July 12, 2013)
Rep. Denny Hoskins (r): your constituents know what you’re doing to them (August 26, 2013)
HB 253: any way you slice it (September 11, 2013)
HB 253: Watch out – It’ll be baaaaaaaaaack (September 11, 2013)
SB 509: once more, with feeling (April 17, 2014)
SB 509: Governor Jay Nixon (D) strikes back (April 22, 2014)
SB 509: dueling on Twitter (April 22, 2014)
SB 509: Would you like some whine with your bill? (April 23, 2014)
SB 509: strange gyrations (April 23, 2014)
The Missouri GOP, Evel Knievel and political stuntsmanship (April 24, 2014)
SB 509: the folks back home ain’t buying what they’re selling (April 24, 2014)
SB 509: in a wingnutshell (April 28, 2014)
SB 509: veto it is (May 1, 2014)
SB 509: Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) Veto (May 2, 2014)