Late one evening last month, in one fell swoop at the end of the legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed three conservative bills that earned the state a bit of national mockery: A bill to block all federal gun control, legislation to restrict a 1992 United Nations green development pledge -- and a proposal to ban the enforcement of Sharia Law, the religious law of Islam. For some Republicans, it was a historic night of many feats. For others, it was, at the least, quite puzzling.
Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, now has the task of reviewing these bills and took the step yesterday of publicly shooting down the latter one aimed at protecting Missourians from Islamic religious law -- which, as critics point out, is not exactly a real threat.
In fact, according to Nixon, the bill is not only pointless, but it could have a serious unintended consequence.
See also: - Brian Nieves Outburst: "Are You Reporters Listening to This?" (VIDEO) - Brian Nieves Writes Insane E-Mails to Constituent Who Doesn't Want His Newsletters - Rick Stream Sends Bizarre E-Mail About the Dangers of Islam...Citing Churchill?
The bill in question is Senate Bill 267, sponsored by Republican State Senator Brian Nieves and officially called the "Civil Liberties Defense Act." The legislation, as written, establishes that the state must "protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right protected by the constitutions of the state of Missouri and the United States, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy."
It does not directly mention Sharia Law, but as we noted when the proposal was first debated, the language of the bill very closely mirrors anti-Islamic law bills that have cropped around the country and originate with controversial individuals intent on presenting this religion as a threat to American freedom.
Nixon, however, focused on a problem that he says the bill could create -- that is, an obstacle to foreign adoptions in Missouri.
The governor, who came to Lutheran Family & Children's Services in St. Louis to formally veto the bill yesterday afternoon, says in a statement:
This legislation seeks to solve a problem that does not exist, while creating the very real problem of jeopardizing Missouri's families' ability to adopt children from foreign countries. Here in Missouri, we believe in strengthening families and encouraging adoption. By placing additional barriers between couples who want to adopt and children who need loving homes, Senate Bill 267 is quite simply out of step with these basic values.
In other words, it could further complicate the process couples face when adopting children from foreign countries that have legal systems that are inconsistent with ours.
The bill, which doesn't mention adoptions directly, could open the adoption process up to unnecessary challenges, critics say.
From 1999 through 2011, the most recent year of available data, Missouri families have adopted 5,852 children born outside of the U.S., Nixon also notes.
I've attached the link to the bill so you all can show the governor you are smarter than him by actually reading it! If you read the bill and then read his made up, silly excuse as to why he vetoed it, you almost have to laugh! Sad thing is... It's NOT funny! A sitting governor should not allow lies and untruths to be the basis of their action!
Continue for more from Brian Nieves and for the governor's full veto message.
Nixon, according to Nieves, "either didn't read it, has been bamboozled, or is just straight up lying!"
Nieves seems to be arguing that because the bill does not mention adoptions, Nixon's criticisms are unfounded, though opponents of the legislation have said that the anti-foreign law proposal is vague and thus could create an unnecessary challenge for adopting families.
When concerns about adoption first came up last month, Nieves wrote on Facebook, "Looks like someone has lied to these good people who are trying to help families adopt! Looks like we have our work cut out for us in terms of getting the governor to sign the bill!"
Daily RFT left a message for Nieves and will update if we hear back.
Nieves has cast blame for the veto on the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, which has publicly opposed the bill. The ACLU says that Missourians are already protected against foreign laws under the U.S Constitution and argues that it could negatively impact not only adoptions, but also custody disputes based on overseas marriages, international business in Missouri and more.
Here's Nixon's full veto letter, followed by Nieves' full comments, a final draft of the bill and the ACLU's statement released yesterday.
Nieves' response on Facebook last night:
Governor Nixon just vetoed my "Civil Liberties Defense Act" (SB267) apparently without reading it!! Any governor, of any state, has the authority to veto any bill that is put on their desk right? The answer to the question is yes BUT... Seems as tho said governor might want to be able to at least give the appearance that they have at least read the bill before vetoing it!
Governor Nixon just vetoed my "Civil Liberties Defense Act" (SB267) apparently without reading it!! i just read the letter where he describes why he vetoed it and the letter seems to confirm that he either didn't read it, has been bamboozled, or is just straight up lying! I find it hard to believe that he would lie so I have to guess he either didn't read it OR allowed himself to be Bamboozled by the ACLU!
I've attached the link to the bill so you all can show the governor you are smarter than him by actually reading it! If you read the bill and then read his made up, silly excuse as to why he vetoed it, you almost have to laugh! Sad thing is... It's NOT funny! A sitting governor should not allow lies and untruths to be the basis of their action! Oh, wait... This is the same governor who seems to think it's OK to turn over the names, pictures, social security numbers etc of 163,000 Law Abiding Missouri Citizens who hold a CCW Permit over to the federal government!
Statement from Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri:
The ACLU of Eastern Missouri applauds Gov. Jay Nixon's courage to veto Senate Bill 267. The supposed goal of this bill is to protect Missourians from the application of foreign laws, but the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States already accomplish this. Gov. Nixon was wise to see that the bill was not only unnecessary, but could have many negative unintended consequences. Because the bill outlaws any consideration of a foreign law in cases involving family issues, it could negatively impact foreign adoptions, custody disputes based on overseas marriages, and arbitrations based on religious law. International business in Missouri could also be affected, since individuals would not be able to enforce contracts based in another country's legal system.
Quite simply, SB 267 would have harmed Missouri's ability to operate in the 21st century global village. We urge our legislators to show the same fortitude Gov. Nixon has demonstrated and allow his veto to stand.