August 21, 2014

Speaker not worried about veto session support of members who outlasted Sinquefield-backed opponents

There are again 110 Republicans in the Missouri House after a special election in two districts that coincided with the August Primary. That would be enough to overturn vetoes during September’s veto session, but only if all Republicans are in the Capitol and if all of them vote for the overturn.

That could prove to be a big “if,” according to House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka), who says he’s only really concerned about unforeseen circumstances.

“It is difficult any time to get 110 people in the same place at the same time,” says Jones. “You never know when people are going to have tragic events in their family or that may affect them personally. We hope everyone remains healthy. We hope no one has any serious family issues that come up. We hope no one gets stuck … we had some members that got stuck because of travel in years past.”

Some members who are term-limited out of office at the end of the year might also not want to drive from far reaches of the state for the veto session, particularly if there isn’t a bill or two of particular concern for them or their districts.

Then there is the question of four members who faced primary opposition backed by financier Rex Sinquefield, who had voted against the override of a veto on a tax cut bill – a bill that Sinquefield wanted to become law.

Those four representatives told Missourinet’s Bob Priddy that they are somewhat upset with the party over that situation, but did not say it would impact how they will vote in the veto session.

Bob’s stories with four Republicans who beat Rex Sinquefield-backed primary opponents:

The Four:  Sinquefield tried to buy seats in the House (AUDIO)

The Four:  time for campaign reform (AUDIO)

Jones says he met with those four members during the party’s caucus earlier this month. He says he does anticipate having their votes.

“I absolutely do,” says Jones. “I welcomed them back and congratulated them. They’re on the team. They’ve always been on the team and I don’t think that will be a problem at all.”

Jones says as far as he knows, all lawmakers want to return for the veto session to override Governor Jay Nixon’s vetoes.

“The General Assembly has shown leadership on so many issues this past session – on budget, on appropriate spending, on education, in health care reforms, on education reforms, on tax cuts,” says Jones.

The veto session begins September 10.

Earlier story:  House Speaker discusses possible veto overrides on budget items, tax policy bills

House Speaker discusses possible veto overrides on budget items, tax policy bills

Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a record number of bills from the 2014 legislative session, but the Republican-led legislature will attempt to overturn many of those vetoes according, to the House Speaker.

House Speaker Tim Jones (left) and House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (right) address the media following the 2014 State of the State Address.  (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Speaker Tim Jones (left) says House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (right) is working with Democrats to determine what budget line item vetoes might be targets for veto override attempts. (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Republicans have held their August caucus and discussed what vetoes they will and won’t attempt to override. Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says he believes many of the 95 line-item vetoes Nixon made in the budget will be targets.

“Budget Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) is currently in negotiations with the minority caucus to find out if we can perhaps even just reach a general consensus on whether we should override all 95 of those vetoes,” says Jones.

Nixon says the legislature sent him a budget in May that was out of balance and didn’t account for some of the legislation it had passed, so he vetoed more than $144-million from it. Jones says his caucus disagrees, and that will fuel the veto override attempts.

“We believe that the budget that we passed was fully balanced,” says Jones, “and that the governor, through his constant playing of shell games with the budget, his constant attempts to make education the lowest priority of his administration by always attacking the education budgets, we just feel that all that was extremely unfair to Missourians, to our school children, to the senior programs that he has vetoed.”

Jones says his caucus also disagrees with the governor’s assessment of ten bills he vetoed, that he says contained more than a dozen tax breaks for special interests and would reduce state and local revenue by more than $776-million annually.

“The governor has really put out some horrible misinformation bordering on complete fabrication as to the fiscal impact of this legislation,” says Jones. He says each of those bills will be examined in the veto session.

“Many of them will likely be ripe for an override,” says Jones.

Jones this month learned that his caucus would have two more members, giving it the 110 Republicans necessary to be able to overturn vetoes without the help of any Democrats, if all House Republicans show up and vote together.

Jones discusses whether he expects that to happen in our story with him for Monday.

The legislature’s veto session begins September 10.

Comment time running out on deer farming regs (AUDIO)

Tomorrow is the deadline for Missourians to comment on the Conservation Department’s new regulations for farmers who want to raise deer.  But an important political decision could make the regulations moot.

The legislature will consider next month whether to override the Governor’s veto of a bill transferring regulation of deer farming from the Conservation Department to the Agriculture Department.  Conservation says it’s not assuming the veto will stand as it solicits comments about new regulations  that requires fences deer can’t jump over, improved record-keeping when the deer are shipped, and mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease for deer that die in captivity.

Department deputy director Tim Ripperger says testing is needed “to get a better handle” on Chronic Wasting Disease, which attacks the animal’s nervous system and is always fatal, in captivity and in the wild. “We did find it in a facility in north-central Missouri and the wild herd where we found it has been  …within two miles of that captive facility,” he says.

He’s not saying the disease originated in the captive facility.  But halting the spread of the disease is so important that the new rules ban captive deer operations within 25 miles  of places where CWD has been found.

The regulations also ban the importation of live white-tailed deer, mule deer, and their hybrids from other states being in captive cervid operations.  The rules require fences that deer can’t jump over and space between double fences to keep outside deer from touching noses with impounded deer. It bans captive deer operations with 25 miles of any place where CWD has been confirmed.

Comments should be sent to the Secretary of State’s office by tomorrow although the department will keep taking them for a while longer.

AUDIO: Ripperger 5:56

The Four: time for campaign reform (AuDIO)

Two Republican State Representatives who survived heavily-financed efforts to oust them from office last week think it’s time to reign in what they think are abuses in campaign finance.

Representatives Jeff Messenger of Republic and Lyle Rowland of Cedarcreek, both in southwest Missouri, were targets of retired financier Rex Sinquefield and his political action committee.  They and two others targeted for defeat in last Tuesday’s primary had refused to support a veto override on a tax break bill Sinquefield wanted to pass.

Messenger doesn’t appreciate the kind of campaign launched against him.  He says his people “didn’t want the type of politics coming out St. Louis in our district.”  And Rowland is even stronger, citing the old statement that   “figures don’t lie but liars figure.”   He says that’s what happened in the campaign he won last Tuesday.

Both, as the others, say they won because they stood up; to outsiders thinking they could buy their seats in the House.  Messenger says the campaigns emphasize the need for campaign finance reform, observing, “It’s not right for an organization to come out and try to sway an election, and that seems to be all based around how much money can be generated.”

And Rowland, who withstood a $130,000 campaign against him hopes for the same thing. “I am only hoping that.  I would support some type of reform because it is completely out of control,” he says.

The legislature has done a lot of talking about campaign finance and ethics legislation for years.  But its members have not been threatened as four of them were last week.

AUDIO: Messenger interview 12:45

AUDIO: Rowland interview 13:24

State agriculture officials want parts of omnibus bills saved

Two big agriculture bills that were vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) because they would have changed who regulates captive deer, had other provisions he liked. The state legislature will decide next month whether to overturn his vetoes.

Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce

Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce

The bills would have placed captive deer under the regulation of the Department of Agriculture rather the Conservation Department. Backers of the captive deer industry don’t like new rules Conservation planned to apply to such operations.

State Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce says his department doesn’t want to take over captive white tail regulation.

“Our stance at the Missouri Department of Agriculture is that the Missouri Department of Conservation is the state agency that manages the white tail deer population,” says Fordyce.

There are other parts of those bills that he says would benefit agriculture, such as pieces that would benefit the dairy industry and to enact a state beef referendum. He says his legislative staff would seek to work with lawmakers to save those, if the veto stands.

“Maybe fast-track some of that legislation in the next legislative session,” says Fordyce.

Some watching the situation note that both Departments fall within the Nixon Administration, and say that means the Agriculture Department would likely enact the same rules as Conservation, that the captive deer industry object to.

Fordyce says he doesn’t know whether lawmakers are leaning toward, or against, attempting veto overrides.

Some supporters of the changes to deer regulations say they believe there are enough votes in both the state House and state Senate for overrides.