Governor Nixon has wrapped up his work on the legislative session, signing the budget bills plus 122 others, vetoing a total of 23.
Nixon had until Tuesday to issue vetoes, but made public his decisions a day early. On Monday, Nixon signed 11 bills and vetoed 18. Perhaps the biggest veto was of SB 37 , a measure designed to ease pressure on the overworked public defender system. In his veto message, Nixon stated that the bill’s provision that allowed the Public Defender Commission to manage the caseload of public defenders merely shifted their burden to other participants in an already burdened criminal justice system.
Nixon spokesman, Scott Holste, says the governor believes the system needs more money, not the right to limit caseloads.
"Obviously, we need more resources in the criminal justice system," Holste said in an interview with the Missourinet, "but this bill focused only on one part of the criminal justice system we believe at the expense of some of the other parts of it."
Nixon vetoed HB 544 , a public funds accountability measure, because it contained a provision which would have issued keys to the Capitol Dome to every legislator. Nixon stated that security concerns were raised by the Office of Administration and Capitol police.
Technical glitches doomed some other bills. Drafting mistakes or poor wording worried the governor who said such problems couldn’t go into state law. Often in his veto message, Nixon acknowledged portions of the bills he liked and gave indications of how to overcome his objections during a future session.
Earlier, Nixon vetoed the legislature’s attempt to remove the requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets.
Holste said, overall, Nixon was pleased with his first legislative session.
"It certainly was a busy session. There was a lot to review for the governor and his staff at the end of the session and now that process is concluded," Holste said.
The big disappointment for the governor, according to Holste, was the rejection by the House of a measure that would have extended health care coverage to an additional 35,000 Missourians at no cost to taxpayers. Still, Holste said the governor was pleased that the legislature increased funding for public schools, kept funding to state colleges stable and passed a jobs bill.
All of the governor’s actions may be viewed at http://governor.mo.gov/actions/