The state legislature’s veto session is underway.
In the Senate, University City Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal took the floor early to talk about her experience and the experience of protesters in Ferguson after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, August 9, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Senators and guests, including many who rode busses to the Capitol from Ferguson, listened in silence as Chappelle-Nadal tearfully said she had been tear gassed, had seen constituents staring down police firearms and said those constituents were called animals and treated like animals.
She went on to continue her criticism of Governor Jay Nixon, who she says took too long to respond to Ferguson and waited until it was a big story. She called the governor a “coward.”
In the House, the Republican leadership immediately went to the items that Governor Nixon had cut from the state’s budget through vetoes. Taken up and passed with bipartisan support were priority items such as $1.45-million for forensic exams of physically abused children, $160-thousand for defibrillators for water patrol boats, and $4.1-million for software to be used to create emergency preparedness plans for all state schools.
Each of those items have been sent to the Senate, who must also vote whether to restore them to the current state budget.
Nixon says the state doesn’t have the money to pay for those items, and could withhold the funding for them even if the legislature successful votes to override his vetoes.
Still to be considered by both chambers is a bill that would triple in Missouri the waiting period on abortions from 24-hours to 72-hours. That and other abortion-related legislation spurred dueling rallies by abortion rights supporters and opponents in the Capitol as the veto session began.