House Bill 277 Shakes up Local Legislative Power

Sep 18, 2015

Credit KBIA

House Bill 277 was recently rejected by the Governor. The state legislature then overrode the veto, leaving Missouri city councils with a lot less power. 

This new bill prevents individual cities from creating their own ordinances to benefit their particular city. Now, only the state can pass ordinances that everyone must follow.

Columbia Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp said cities would benefit the most from other cities trying out different policies and then either adapting the policies or denying them.

He says local issues are better represented by local officials.      

“What we have seen out of the state legislatures today is they want a one size fits all approach," Trapp said. "They want a monopoly on power and I think voters are going to have to consider the nature of their own delegation who have undercut their own city’s authority.” 

Trapp said the power should be within the local city because they are more accessible to their constituents and more open and transparent about issues they are trying to resolve. He said he believes voters would agree that most issues should be solved at the local level.

He also said he would like to see the state coming up with a solution for the 50 million plastic bags generated in Columbia annually.

Columbia Forth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas agreed. He said he is very disappointed that the governor’s veto was not upheld by the legislature. He believes individual communities should have the right to pass their own ordinances and is very disappointed.  

“I didn’t think it was a good piece of legislation it prevents progressive ideas from being piloted in individual communities which I think is an important flexibility,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he believes it is important to have flexibility because public opinion is constantly changing and the communities should be able to solve their problems independent from the rest of the state. In regards to Columbia, he said this new bill limits the city’s options on the bills they want to pass.

Thomas says the new bill will make it harder for Columbia to pass legislation to benefit the city. He said he believes this will hurt the innovation of ideas from the cities.