Missouri lawmakers prepare for busy veto session

Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

by Marie French

Two bills vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to cut income taxes and nullify federal gun laws in the state have drawn national attention to Missouri.

But Nixon vetoed a total of 29 bills passed by lawmakers in the 2013 session – the most he has vetoed in a single session.

The vetoed bills range from one seeking to remove some names from the online sex offender registry to a measure banning local governments from restricting the celebration of federal holidays.

And while the Republican party has a veto-proof majority in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly, that’s no guarantee of success. Recent public statements by several Republican lawmakers indicate support for the income tax cut bill may not be enough to override Nixon’s veto. Only one Republican House member or two Republican senators would be needed to vote to sustain the vetoes if all other members vote with their parties.

There have been only eight veto overrides since Missouri’s 1945 constitution requiring a two-thirds majority of both chambers went into effect. Two Nixon vetoes have been overturned – once in 2011 to create a new congressional district map and in 2012 on a bill expanding exemptions for health insurance coverage for abortion, contraception and sterilization.

Other bills that could see their vetoes overridden include a measure to restrict how public employee unions can collect fees and legislation to restrict punitive damages in lawsuits against the Doe Run lead mining company.

Some lawmakers plan to try again next session on certain priorities if veto override efforts are unsuccessful.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, who supported an effort to alter the state’s sex offender registry, said he wants to see another bill next session if the veto cannot be overridden. The cosponsor of a bill banning any restrictions on federal holidays by public entities, Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, said it would be revised and reintroduced if the override doesn’t happen.

The veto session begins Sept. 11 and can last no longer than 10 days.