Holden vetoes bill for home repair mediation

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Bob Holden on Tuesday rejected legislation that would have required homeowners to attempt to resolve claims of defective construction or repair through mediation before taking contractors to court.

Holden vetoed the bill in private, but in the accompanying veto message he said the measure created "unreasonable obstacles" for homeowners who want problems fixed.

"This bill puts an undue burden on homeowners, requiring them to wait up to three to six months before being made whole," Holden said. "These delays could cause considerable health or safety risks."

The mediation requirement isn't justified, Holden said, because homeowners typically only resort to legal action after a contractor refuses to make repairs.

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, sponsored the bill, which he said would have made for a smoother process by allowing parties to handle disputes out of court. Kinder said he thought concerns with the legislation that had been raised by the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys had been addressed to their satisfaction before the measure was granted final passage.

"I'm told the trial lawyers went on a jihad against the bill and urged the governor to veto it," Kinder said.

MATA spokeswoman Sharon Jones said the group's initial problems with the proposal had been fixed and that it didn't push for a veto.

"The way it came out, we were OK with it," Jones said.

Kinder said he is uncertain if he will attempt to override the veto when the legislature convenes in September.

Also on Tuesday, Holden vetoed a bill that would have revised environmental regulations for large-scale animal feeding operations and a resolution to reauthorize an existing committee that advises the state on the poultry industry while creating a similar panel for the forestry industry. He also rejected another resolution limited to establishing the forestry committee.


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