House members muster a majority, but not the majority needed to override Governor Nixon’s veto of a bill seeking additional accountability measures over federal economic stimulus money and state budget withholdings.
The House voted 86 to 71 to override the veto of HB 544 , but that fell well short of the two-thirds majority, or 109 votes, needed to override a governor’s veto.
Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem and sponsor of the bill, moved to override the veto during the Veto Session held on Wednesday. Smith argued that the additional financial accountability measures were needed. The bill would have expanded the Missouri Accountability Portal to require the governor’s office to give a daily account of the budget appropriations being withheld. It also would have created the Joint Committee on Recovery, Accountability and Transparency to oversee the spending of federal economic stimulus money. Missouri is receiving $4 billion from the $787 billion dollar economic stimulus package approved by Congress earlier this year.
The governor stated in his veto message that the provisions of HB 544 were included in other bills, a contention Smith disputed during House floor debate. It was a contention, though, that Democrats latched onto. Even Democrats who voted for the measure during the regular session voted against the override, protecting their fellow Democrat, Governor Nixon, of the embarrassment of a veto override.
Democrats also noted one other objection of the governor’s: a provision added by the Senate. That provision would have given each state lawmaker a key to the Capitol Dome. The governor had stated that Capitol Police worried that the provision would have hampered security efforts.
House members made objections to other vetoes, but the members who moved to override those vetoes withdrew their motions after having their say. Governor Nixon signed 139 bills approved by the state legislature this year. He vetoed 23. He also used the power of the line-item veto to make cuts in 11 budget bills.