Nixon vetoes bill limiting unemployment benefits | St. Louis Public Radio

Nixon vetoes bill limiting unemployment benefits

May 5, 2015

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed his second bill of the session on Tuesday. 

This bill, House Bill 150, ties unemployment benefits to the state's jobless rate and would have cut the number of weeks someone could receive benefits to 13 weeks when the jobless rate dips below 6 percent.

The bill fell 29 votes short of a 109-vote veto-proof majority when it first passed the House. But the sponsor, Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Barry County, said he expects that to change.

Credit photo credit|Innov8social, Flickr, Creative Commons

"We've just been educating those members on what the Senate did to the bill, which in my opinion was fine, and I think we're moving people back into the 'yes' column," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm pretty confident we'll get to 109."

In one of the Senate's amendments to the bill, a worker's severance pay would have been counted as wages. That means the person would be ineligible for benefits until that severance pay was exhausted, Fitzpatrick said. As a result, some Republicans in the House withdrew their support when the bill was finally passed.

In a statement released by the governor's office Tuesday, Nixon said "there is no sound fiscal argument" for the bill.

"Unemployment insurance benefits provide a bridge for hard-working Missourians looking for another job, while strengthening local economies at the same time," Nixon said in the release. "Supporters of this bill have forgotten that workers earn these insurance benefits by working, and that tough economic times often last longer than a mere 13 weeks."

Last week, Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 24, which reduces the amount of time people can receive welfare benefits. The legislature voted to successfully override the veto Tuesday.

Legislators have until May 15 when the session ends to override the governor's veto.

Follow Ray Howze on Twitter: @RayHowze.