Nixon Defend Sexual Predator Law Veto in Kansas City
August 22, 2013

(AP) — A Missouri bill removing the names of juvenile sex offenders from public registries could affect hundreds more people than originally estimated and help hide the whereabouts of some high-profile offenders, Gov. Jay Nixon said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor pointed to new figures and specific examples of sex offenders as he traveled to St. Louis and Kansas City to try to build a case for why legislators should sustain his veto of the bill when they convene Sept. 11. Republican House leaders have said the measure is a likely target for a veto override, noting that it passed originally with overwhelmingly support.

Under the bill, people who are younger than 18 when they commit sex offenses would no longer appear on law enforcement websites that list the home addresses and physical description of sex offenders. Adults who are currently listed because of sex offenses committed as juveniles also could be removed from the public registry five years after their convictions or release from prison.

Supporters of the bill have said the public registries leave a permanent mark on adults who may have been convicted as teenagers for consensual sexual activities with younger juveniles. They have said such people deserve a second chance outside of the public spotlight.

The bill passed the House 153-0 and the Senate 28-4 earlier this year.

Nixon has said the legislation would weaken state laws and undermine public safety.

When Nixon vetoed the bill in early July, he cited estimates that 560 people who committed sex offenses as juveniles could be eligible to be removed from the registry, which has a total of about 13,500 offenders. On Wednesday, Nixon raised the estimate of those who could be removed from the list to 870 offenders – a greater than 50 percent increase from what was originally estimated.

“The leadership of the House may be ready to help violent sex offenders hide from the public and law enforcement, but their victims, and the millions of Missourians who use these websites to help keep their families safe, are not,” Nixon said.

The governor’s office distributed information about specific sex offenders who could be removed from the list if lawmakers were to override his veto. Among them is Daniel Winfrey, who was 15 years old in April 1991, when sisters Julie and Robin Kerry were raped and killed at the Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area. Winfrey pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and rape after agreeing to testify against several others involved in the crime.

Other offenders that the governor’s office cited as likely to be removed from the public registry included men who had been convicted as juveniles of rape, sexual assault and sodomy against children who were ages 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said the legislation would benefit people who committed “heinous” acts.

“These aren’t Romeo and Juliet people we’re talking about here,” Holste said.

Nixon Vetoes Another Set of Bills
July 4, 2013

(AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced several vetoes Wednesday, rejecting legislation dealing with uninsured motorists, volunteer health care providers and child care requirements.

The vetoes were the most recent of the various bills the Democratic governor has blocked so far. More legislation remains, and Nixon has until mid-July to sign or veto bills or will take effect automatically.

Under the motor vehicle legislation vetoed Wednesday, uninsured motorists involved in an accident would have waived the ability to have a cause of action or collect for noneconomic losses from someone who has insurance. Court awards would have been reduced by the amount representing noneconomic damages. Lawsuit restrictions would not have applied if the motorist at fault was drunk, under the influence of drugs or convicted of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree assault.

Nixon said the legislation was “riddled with ambiguity” and would have prompted excessive litigation over to whom and how to apply the legislation. He said the measure did not define “uninsured” and that there was uncertainty about whether it would have prohibited any causes of action or simply the recovery of certain damages.

When state lawmakers passed the uninsured motorist bill in May, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, called it a “common-sense measure” that would put heft behind Missouri’s requirement that motorists keep liability insurance for their vehicles.

Another bill vetoed Wednesday would have shielded volunteer health care providers from civil damages unless there was gross deviation from the ordinary standard of care or willful misconduct. Sen. David Sater, who sponsored the legislation, had said the bill would allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to provide care for no compensation for a sponsoring organization with protection against frivolous lawsuits or civil damages.

“These providers, even if they are not compensated, are forced to provide their own liability insurance to protect themselves from lawsuits,” said Sater, R-Cassville. “The result is that they are prevented from donating their service because of the high cost of liability protection.”

Nixon said the State Legal Expense Fund provides liability coverage for volunteers at free health clinics, schools and to health professionals helping at summer camps. He said allowing coverage through the fund encourages volunteers and protects those who have been harmed and that gaps should be filled within the existing system.

“It would be bad public policy to deny individuals who receive poor medical care access to the legal system simply because the person who provided the care was a volunteer,” the governor said.

Nixon also vetoed bills he said sought to create an exemption for a St. Louis organization from child care requirements and legislation that dealt with foster parents and custody and visitation for military personnel. The governor also vetoed legislation he said conflicted with a measure already signed into law and dealing with private probation services.

Lawmakers return to the state Capitol in September to decide whether to attempt to override any of Nixon’s vetoes.