State lawmakers return to the Capitol today for the annual Veto Session. It appears that though there might be a lot of talk, there likely won’t be any vetoes overturned.
Governor Nixon, a Democrat, signed 139 bills . He vetoed 23 and made line-item vetoes in 11 budget bills.
“This governor certainly issued a much higher number of vetoes than previous governors and a lot of those are budget related and we understand that given the fiscal difficulties the state is in,” says Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) , “But there may be opportunities for folks to voice their displeasure and say why they think something should not have been vetoed or in a particular appropriation why it shouldn’t have been line-itemed vetoed. So, that may be an opportunity for folks.”
Neither Shields nor House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) anticipate any vetoes will be overridden this year.
“I don’t think there is any support for a super majority in the House. I just doubt if that happens,” Richard says. “We are going to go through the budget bills one by one and whoever wants to speak, we’re going to do that. But, any serious votes, I’m not sure there are any serious votes that would override.”
The governor signed 103 House bills and 36 Senate bills this year. He vetoed 11 House bills and 12 Senate bills. In addition, he made line-item vetoes in 11 budget bills, which originate in the House. Vetoed bills return to the chamber of origin which can take a vote to override the governor. It takes 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate to override a gubernatorial veto. A bit of sickness has reduced the number of Republicans expected in the House Chamber today, reducing their total numbers to the mid-80s. It is highly unlikely any House Democrat will vote to override Nixon, a fellow Democrat. The only serious defections in recent history occurred on emotional social issues, such as the 1999 override of Governor Carnahan’s veto of the partial-birth abortion ban and, in 2003, Democrats voted against Governor Holden in over-turning his veto of the concealed weapons bill.
Veto overrides remain rare. There have been only 22 in state history.
Any talk of override this year has centered on two bills, one from each chamber. SB 202 , which repealed the state motorcycle helmet law for adults, passed overwhelmingly in both chambers. Still, Senate leaders don’t expect a serious override attempt. HB 544 proposed oversight accountability of federal economic stimulus money as well as increased access to the Capitol dome. The sponsors of those bills might well make a motion to override, use the opportunity to state their objections to the governor’s action, and then withdraw the motion