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“…Cooperating doesn’t mean compromising on your principles. And when the General Assembly passes legislation that would take our state backwards, like they did this past week, I won’t hesitate to use my veto pen to protect the interests of the people of Missouri.

The bill to make Missouri a so-called “Right-to-Work” state would stifle our economic growth, weaken the middle class – and even subject Missouri employers to criminal and unlimited civil liability.  

I’ll lay out my objections in greater detail in my veto message, but it’s clear that attacking workers and threatening businesses is the wrong economic development strategy for our state and it’s not what Missourians sent us here to do…”

Governor Jay Nixon [June 2014 file photo].

From Governor Jay Nixon’s office:

Remarks by Gov. Nixon regarding the 98th General Assembly

May 15, 2015

Jefferson City, MO

Below are the prepared remarks given by Gov. Jay Nixon upon the adjournment of the 98th General Assembly:

Good afternoon and thanks for being here. I know many of you have had some long days this week so I’ll have just a few comments and then be glad to take any questions.

First I want to congratulate Representative Todd Richardson, a well-respected and talented legislator, on his election as Speaker of the Missouri House. I spoke to Todd last night and told him that I was committed to working with him next session to restore trust and move the state forward.

Earlier this year, at the beginning of session, I talked about the values we share as Missourians… and encouraged the General Assembly to rise above partisanship… and do the right thing by the working families of our state.

Because we’re all here for the same purpose: to represent the people of Missouri – folks who are working hard to make ends meet, provide for their families, and build a brighter future for their children.

And during this session, we were able to reach across aisle to get things done on a host of important issues:

   I’m eager to review the legislature’s bill to reform municipal courts – a top priority I called for in my State of the State address.

   We also took steps to strengthen our agriculture industry with a bill to help dairy farmers and encourage more young people to pursue careers in agriculture.

   Last week I signed legislation restoring caps on noneconomic damages against health providers – a reasonable, bipartisan solution to a long-standing and vexing challenge.

   The bonding package is another example of bipartisan progress. Everyone understands the critical role of higher education in maintaining our competitiveness in a global economy, and giving our students the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

   So last year, after the legislature passed additional bonding capacity, we reached out to legislators and higher education institutions around the state to chart a path forward.

   Our public colleges and universities identified their top priorities for bringing their higher education facilities up to the level our students deserve.  Six months later, that bill is on my desk – and it’s going to create thousands of good jobs in every corner of the state, while strengthening Missouri’s position as a leader in college affordability and quality.

   On the budget, again – there was more agreement than disagreement. From providing record funding for K-12 education, to investing in small businesses – the legislature passed the budget on time and answered my call for smart, strategic investments that will pay dividends for years to come.

   For example, the budget includes the spending authority needed for us to continue moving forward on a new Fulton State Hospital – replacing one that opened in 1851. I called for it… the legislature passed it… and in a couple weeks we’ll be breaking ground on that new state-of-the-art facility.

   I also want to thank the Senate for upholding my veto of a bill that would have unfairly denied working people the unemployment insurance benefits they’ve earned in the workplace.

But make no mistake, we don’t always agree.

Cooperating doesn’t mean compromising on your principles. And when the General Assembly passes legislation that would take our state backwards, like they did this past week, I won’t hesitate to use my veto pen to protect the interests of the people of Missouri.

The bill to make Missouri a so-called “Right-to-Work” state would stifle our economic growth, weaken the middle class – and even subject Missouri employers to criminal and unlimited civil liability.  

I’ll lay out my objections in greater detail in my veto message, but it’s clear that attacking workers and threatening businesses is the wrong economic development strategy for our state and it’s not what Missourians sent us here to do.

The legislature also left some major unfinished business that, for the good of our state, must be addressed when they return next year. That includes giving working people access to affordable health care, funding our roads and bridges, updating the state statute governing deadly force to be consistent with constitutional requirements and U. S. Supreme Court precedent, and finally reforming our ethics laws.

Now before I take questions, I want to talk briefly about the events of the past week.

The State Capitol should represent the best of Missouri….. a place where public servants carry out the people’s business transparently and ethically… and where young women and men can learn how their government works without fear of harassment, intimidation or other inappropriate conduct.

Now, there are many good people in this building, upstanding individuals who are here to serve the public interest.

But sadly, the past week has been a jarring reminder of what happens when people lose sight of what they’re here to do – and who they’re here to serve.

Now that the session has come to a close, members of the General Assembly face a choice – of whether the past few days will simply reinforce the low expectations many Missourians already have for the legislative process, or whether these events will serve as a wakeup call to do better and act in ways that will make Missourians proud.

That’s why I hope that, as they return to their districts this summer, members go home and get some perspective.  Spend time with their families… talk with their constituents… and recommit themselves to values that called them to public service and the people they’re here to represent.

Not lobbyists and special interests… but ordinary Missourians who work hard… go to church… and look out for their neighbors.

The autoworker on the line in Claycomo…The student working his way through school in Kirksville… The veteran starting her own business in St. Louis.

We’re here to deliver on their priorities: balanced budgets… good-paying jobs… quality schools… strong, inclusive communities…. and a government that reflects the highest ethical and moral standards.

Those are the priorities I’ve fought for as Governor over the last six years, and they’re the priorities I’ll continue to fight for in the months and years ahead.

Uh, yep, there will be a veto.