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Gov. Nixon’s Veto of Common Sense Unemployment Legislation Stands

The Missouri House failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 611 today.  The bill would have allowed Missouri to be in compliance with federal law and avoid federal penalties.  It also would have established a more reasonable and meaningful definition of “misconduct” based on Florida law.

Under current law, many employees that are dismissed for good cause are able to obtain unemployment benefits.  These benefits are charged against the former employers’ account.  In some cases, employees that are dismissed for extreme negligence or misbehavior are able to obtain unemployment benefits.  Examples cited in the hearings on this bill included truck drivers fired for speeding, employees fired for sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior on school grounds, and many others.

Governor Nixon vetoed the legislation.

The legislature failed to override the governor’s veto by just two votes.  Two Republicans that voted against the bill were Rep. Shiela Solon and Rep. Nick Marshall.  Rep. Solon spoke at length against the bill during debate on the override vote and also spoke against a nearly identical bill, SB 28, when the bill was originally passed in the 2013 session.

Following the unsuccessful vote on HB 611, no attempt was made by the House to override the veto of SB 28, a similar measure that would have addressed only the definition of “misconduct”, although the Missouri Senate voted to override the veto of that bill.

Associated Industries of Missouri supports reasonable reform of unemployment laws and will attempt to pass similar legislation in the next legislative session.  “Employers are paying unemployment claims for employees that have engaged in reckless, dangerous and ridiculous behavior, which is simply unacceptable,” said Ray McCarty, president of AIM.

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