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Thursday, February 28, 2008


The Senate on Feb. 25 voted to repeal a statutory provision enacted last year that allows owners of property in unincorporated areas to establish their land as an independent village regardless of population and with no obligation to provide services. A second vote is required to send the bill, SB 765, to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Rod Jetton is expected to block it.

Jetton, R-Marble Hill, secretly slipped the village provision into an omnibus local government bill last year. Jetton's Law, as some critics have dubbed it, went unnoticed until the bill took effect on Aug. 28. On that day a group acting on behalf of Lebanon businessman Robert Plaster, a friend and political supporter of Jetton, filed a petition to incorporate land Plaster owns in Stone County into a village. In his attempts to develop the property, Plaster has encountered resistance from local officials and residents. Establishing his land as a village would free him from local land use restrictions. The Stone County Commission voted to reject the village petition, a decision Plaster is challenging in court. A Franklin County landowner is also attempting to take advantage of the law to incorporate into a village property on which he is the sole resident.

State Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, and several House Republicans have also filed bills to repeal the new village law, but Jetton hasn't assigned any of the measures to committee. In a Feb. 27 editorial, the Lake Sun Leader newspaper in Camdenton called on majority House Republicans to remove Jetton as speaker for deceptively enacting the village law and blocking its repeal.

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