The Missouri legislature has overridden Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 749, legislation meant to allow individuals and employers to opt out of insurance coverage for abortion, birth control and sterilization. The Senate voted 26-6 for the override, the House had just enough votes for the necessary two-thirds majority, 109-45.
In debate in the House, three Democrat women spoke against the override. One of them, Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis), said the bill was not about religion. “Senate Bill 749 is actually about birth control. I also want to remind you what birth control is and what it means to women in Missouri. Birth control determines every woman’s social, their economic and their political equality. Every single woman.”
Representative Linda Black (D-Bonne Terre) noted her conservative record and pro-life beliefs when she spoke against the override. “I believe that the life blood starts at conception and that God protects that through the entire process and that we as human beings and citizens do everything to prevent abortions, but Mr. Speaker I don’t believe that this bill, in my heart, will prevent abortions. I think if we cut off the contraception to women, we’re going to create more abortions and I would never vote for anything that would create that possibility.”
Representative Tim Jones (R-Eureka), who was voted Speaker in the beginning of the veto session, said the issue was tied to the Affordable Care Act. “Senate Bill 749 was an effort to address some of those problems inherent in that bill. I credit Senator (John) Lamping with having the vision and the foresight to recognize that issue early on in the last session and to move that bill skillfully over to us in the House … it’s become more important than ever, because of the Supreme Court upholding Obamacare, that we work to protect the religious freedom, liberties, conscience rights and more importantly, the business decisions of Missouri’s small business owners from this massive federal intrusion.”
The bill is already the subject of a lawsuit filed this afternoon in Cole County Circuit Court, that says the law files both state and federal law including the Affordable Care Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, separation of church and state and Missouri employment discrimination statute.
This is the 24th veto override in the state’s history and the second in as many years, after the legislature last year overturned Governor Nixon’s veto of a bill establishing new congressional districts.
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The House did not take up HB 1329 to attempt to override that veto. Jones said in a morning press conference that there was “great concern” in his caucus about the bill, much of it stemming from the issue raised by the Governor of taxes being collected retroactively on more than 122,000 vehicle purchases made by Missourians from other Missourians, privately, or from out-of-state dealers.
Jones blamed the Governor for the legislation having flaws that resulted in the veto and discouraged lawmakers from voting to override that veto. “Our governor was absent from all policy discussion during the legislative session, and instead of weighing in in a timely fashion and offering a solution and offering leadership on the issue, he decided to veto the bill.”
Jones says he would support a special session to deal with that issue. Governor Nixon says that won’t happen.