St. Louis Public Radio News
6:47 pm
Wed June 30, 2010

Nixon defends firefighter residency

St. Louis, MO – Missouri's governor stood behind a state law Wednesday to let St. Louis firefighters live outside the city.

Governor Jay Nixon signed the bill last week. The city of St. Louis responded Monday with a lawsuit arguing the state had no authority to override the city's charter.

Nixon defended the law Wednesday saying firefighters should be allowed to live outside city limits, just like the city's police officers.

In 2005, the state board that oversees the St. Louis Police Department lifted residency requirements for police officers who have served at least seven years.

"I signed that measure because I think giving the same rights to firefighters and police officers in that situation is the right way to deal with that," said Nixon.

Mayor Francis Slay said the suit is an effort to defend the city's charter and voters.

"Regardless of what you feel about residency, the people of St. Louis should have been able to vote on that and they didn't," said Slay. "The state legislature took it away from the people I represent."

The measure is expected to take effect August 29.