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Government, Politics & Issues

Mo. lawmakers return to Capitol for annual veto session

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt
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Lawmakers are returning to Jefferson City for their annual veto session, which begins Wednesday at noon.

House and Senate leaders will attempt to override Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of a bill that levies local sales taxes on out-of-state vehicle purchases.  The issue has heated up, as Nixon’s supporters are running radio ads urging Missouri citizens to call their lawmakers and tell them not to override the Governor’s veto.

Nixon calls the bill a retroactive tax hike on anyone who’s bought a vehicle outside of Missouri this year, while GOP leaders say it will provide much-needed revenue to local police and fire departments and encourage car and boat buyers to shop in Missouri.  Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller (R, Willard) admits the chances of overriding the veto of the vehicle sales tax bill are slim.

"I think you're gonna have to have support of the (Democratic) party, and I think the Governor's been very strong that he'd prefer they not," Schoeller said.  "(An override attempt will) have a very difficult time in getting passed, but never say never."

Lawmakers are also considering overriding the governor’s veto of a bill that would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage if providing it goes against their religious beliefs.

The one-day session will also mark the last hurrah for 24 House members and nine Senators who are leaving due to term limits.  Among those making their final appearances in chamber is Senator Jason Crowell.  The Cape Girardeau Republican is probably best known for his opposition to expanding tax credits and working instead to either eliminate them or to make them subject to each year’s state budget.  The Senate is also losing President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) because of term limits.  He's running for a Circuit Judge slot in Stoddard County.  And the Senate's top Democrat, Minority Floor Leader Victor Callahan of Independence, is also leaving because of term limits.

Two other Senators are leaving for other reasons.  Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) chose not to seek re-election after her Senate district was moved to the Kansas City area, and Robin Wright-Jones (D, St. Louis) lost her bid for a second term when she was defeated in the Democratic primary by State Representative Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis).  Nasheed faces no opposition in November and is set to take office in January.

In the House, term-limited former House Speaker Steven Tilley has already left office, and House members are expected to elect Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) before taking up veto business.  Schoeller is currently filling in as Speaker until then; he is also running for Secretary of State.

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