Religious Law

Governor cites fireworks danger in vetoing bill intended to protect Christmas and Thanksgiving


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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill intended to protect Christmas and Thanksgiving, saying it goes too far in hamstringing local governments.

The bill introduced by state representative Rick Brattin bars state and local government entities from banning or restricting “the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.” Brattin told the Associated Press he wanted to protect Thanksgiving and Christmas from groups that want to stop public reference to religion.

Nixon vetoed the bill on Monday, calling it “a direct assault on local government authority.” The Associated Press, the Riverfront Times, the Volokh Conspiracy and the Religion Clause blog reported on the governor’s decision.

Nixon says the bill does not have a public safety exception, hampering local governments that ban fireworks during drought conditions. He also cited concerns that the bill would allow any public employee to demand time from work to celebrate federal holidays, creating staffing shortages for essential government functions.

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