Live Blog & Round-Up: Missouri Veto Session 2013
From gun control to a controversial tax cut, this year's veto session in the Missouri Legislature was one to watch.
We had a live blog during all of the developments, which you can read through still below our summaries. Here are a few things to take away:
- Income Tax Bill
The much-covered income tax cut bill is dead -- at least for this year. House GOP leaders brought the bill up, knowing it would likely fail but giving backers one more chance to change minds.
“If this bill is allowed to be phased in over the next 10 years," Republican Jeff Grisamore of Lee's Summit said, "It will lead to an increase in state revenues for not only education, but for individuals with disabilities and our most vulnerable citizens.”
Democrats argued that the bill was poorly written, due to the elimination of tax exemptions for textbooks and prescription drugs. Fifteen Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the override.
- "The Gun Bill"
The so-called nullification bill ( also known as the "gun bill") was also defeated. The House mustered an override, but two Republican Senators (Tom Dempsey and Ron Richard) voted against the measure, which killed it. The two leaders said the legislation was flawed.
- Interview with the House Speaker
- The "Doe Run" Bill
St. Louis-based lead company Doe Run had a huge victory. Thanks to successful veto overrides in the House and Senate, the amount the Doe Run Company will have to pay if it’s found negligent has been limited to $2.5 million. Republican Senator Gary Romine of Farmington says the override is important for southeast Missouri and “The revitalization of an area that is dying away because of the restrictions we have with the EPA and other government agency restrictions."
Romine also said that "We need to find a way to support an industry that is the last in the United States and the finest in the world.” Governor Nixon vetoed the bill over the summer, saying the state legislature shouldn’t act as the court for trials against the company.
- Juvenile Sex Offender Bill
The Missouri House declined to override a bill that would remove some juvenile sex offenders from the state registry. Governor Nixon vetoed the bill over the summer, saying it would undermine public safety and weaken victims’ rights.
Republican Representative Kevin Engler declined to bring the bill to a vote after Nixon and law enforcement officials raised concerns, but he vowed that the bill would be back. He said he "would challenge the governor to work with this body to address the current problem.” Engler also says some offenders deserve a second chance if they committed their crime as a juvenile.
- Key Takeaways & Background
Despite the two marquee bills floundering, Republican super-majorities still managed to override 10 vetoes -- the most during the modern era in Missouri. But, the highest-profile veto Governor Nixon made this year remains in place, the one that killed a proposed state income tax cut.
“We won today because the people of Missouri, and those who represent them in these halls, simply weren’t about to funnel billions of dollars away from their schools for the sake of a risky experiment,” Nixon said.
GOP House Speaker Tim Jones says, though, that they made history by overriding 10 of the Governor’s vetoes:
“Governor Nixon is now the most overridden governor, ever, in the state of Missouri," Jones said. "It shows that Jay Nixon leads from behind, that Jay Nixon does not participate in the legislative process, that Jay Nixon largely occupies the Second Floor (of the Capitol) and doesn’t bother to talk to the General Assembly.”
Here's a full list of bills overridden by both chambers:
- House Bill 19 line item (Pike-Lincoln Tech Center)
- Senate Bill 9 (agriculture)
- House Bill 278 (federal holidays)
- House Bill 329 (financial institutions)
- House Bill 339 (uninsured motorists)
- House Bill 650 (Doe Run)
- House Bill 1035 (political subdivisions)
- Senate Bill 110 (child custody/visitation for military personnel & extra fingerprints)
- Senate Bill 170 (voting via video conference)
- Senate Bill 129 (liability protection for medical volunteers)
- More background and stories on the issues at hand during veto session