On the heels of passage of Texas’ Merry Christmas Bill the state of Missouri recently tried to do something similar — and the bill got vetoed.
Missouri House Bill 278, sponsored by Republican state representative Rick Brattin was simply worded: Prohibits any state or local governmental entity; public building, park, or school; or public setting or place from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.
While the bill doesn’t expressly mention Christmas everyone knows this is what he is talking about.
Brattin said his bill was meant to protect Christmas and Thanksgiving, although neither were explicitly mentioned in the legislation. He said Christmas has particularly come under criticism from groups seeking to wipe out public references to religion.
“In schools, especially, they’re not even allowed to mention the word,” said Brattin, R-Harrisonville.
But Governor Jay Nixon, who vetoed the bill, says there are several problems with it including the fact that it could actually prevent local governments from placing restrictions on fireworks…which could be especially problematic when there are severe fire risks.
â€œWhile the problems these bills ostensibly aim to fight are only imaginary, the headaches they could create for local governments would be very real and costly,â€ Nixon, a Democrat, said in a news release announcing the vetoes. â€œThe new and unnecessary mandates imposed by these bills would have infringed on the rights of local communities and prompted a flood of frivolous litigation.â€
The governor also said the bill was worded so broadly that it also could have allowed state employees to demand time off to celebrate federal holidays â€” potentially causing staff shortages at 24-hour institutions such as nursing homes for veterans, mental health facilities and jails.