Friday, May 22, 2009

Shields Tells Rahn To Butt Out Of Helmet Debate

Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn overstepped his bounds in calling for Governor Jay Nixon to veto legislation that would repeal the state's motorcycle helmet law.
"The last time I checked, laws are written by the people’s elected representatives to the state House and Senate, and the governor then has the power to approve or veto the laws they pass that represent the will of the people," Sen. Shields said, in a stern statement released Friday. "I am alarmed that an appointed bureaucrat would use taxpayer money to pay for polling and then hold a press conference while on the clock to oppose a specific piece of legislation."
Yesterday, Rahn called on Governor Nixon to veto a repeal the legislation, which he said "makes no sense," and would lead to more motorcycle deaths.
Senate Bill 202 would exempt anyone over the age of 21 from wearing a helmet while driving or riding a motorcycle, except when on an interstate.
Shields said Rahn should stick to his number one priority: Missouri's transportation infrastructure.

"I appreciate that Pete has taken us from a sub-par state to one that is now recognized for smoother, better roads," Shields said. "That is why I encourage him to refocus his efforts on continuing to build and improve Missouri's roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure, because this is the second instance this year where he has veered off-track by misusing taxpayer dollars in an effort to lobby elected officials," Shields added.
Shields is referring to media reports that Rahn had MODOT employees lobbying for stricter seatbelt laws earlier this legislative session.
Nixon has not said whether he will sign or veto the bill.

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