State lawmakers return to Jefferson City Monday, August 20 th to consider two issues, not Wednesday, September 12 th , the start of the annual Veto Session and not to consider other issues that remain concerns in Missouri.
Governor Blunt and legislative leaders are playing down the timing for the special legislative session. They say it coincides with an agreement on the economic development bill that Blunt vetoed. The date was chosen, they say, to quickly take advantage of the newly revised bill and they saw no reason to wait. Also, Blunt reasons the state wouldn’t have saved that much money, because Veto Sessions usually last only a day.
The timing might not be so innocent, though. House leaders have said they wanted the special session called earlier, so the option would be left open to attempt an override of Blunt’s veto. Such an attempt would be nearly unprecedented in that a chamber of the legislature controlled by one party would attempt an override of a governor from the same party. One key senator in the negotiations says such an override attempt would be impossible to pull off.
A Democrat governor has suffered such a veto override in the past. The General Assembly in 1980 was controlled by Democrats who overrode Governor Teasdale’s veto of funding for the Truman State Office Building.
Blunt says he considered other issues, such as a fix to the new state minimum wage law, but didn’t see the consensus forming on anything other than economic development and bridge improvement. The economic development package carries an expansion of the Quality Jobs Program, the state’s top economic development tool and the top priority of Governor Blunt. The bridge program seeks to repair or replace 800 of the state’s worst bridges.
The biggest cost of a special session is the per diem paid to lawmakers for each day they are at the Capitol.