Governor Jay Nixon’s veto will stand on a bill that would have put the control of captive deer in Missouri under the Department of Agriculture. The House attempt to block the veto failed by one vote.

Representative Casey Guernsey (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Outgoing Bethany Representative Casey Guernsey carried the ag bill in the House.(photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The deer language was added to a bill with multiple agriculture provisions. It would have included captive deer in the definition of “livestock” in state law.

House Republican leadership kept the voting board open more than 20 minutes while it looked for the 109 votes needed for a veto overturn.  When the tally hit 109 the instruction was given to close the board, but one lawmaker, Jeff Roorda of Barnhart, switched his vote from a “yay” to a “nay” at the last moment and the bill failed.

The legislation is SB 506.

Opinions on the bill divided largely due to the deer language. T.J. McKenna of Festus says the experts told the General Assembly, they didn’t want it.

“The Department of Conservation and the Department of Agriculture both testified against this bill,” says McKenna. “I don’t know why we as a legislature continue to do what the people that take care of things tell us is not the right thing to do.”

Buffalo representative Sandy Crawford says there is good reason to change the management of captive deer.

“These are deer farmers,” Crawford says of those who raise captive deer. “The USDA considers captive deer, agriculture – livestock.”

The other main provision of the bill was a subsidy for dairy producers to help them pay for federal insurance. That also drew some criticism from lawmakers like Bill White of Joplin, who didn’t think it was necessary.

“The ideal world would be to get government out of our agriculture, get them out of the dairy business, let the free market control our prices, let [producers] make business decisions,” says White.

Still, the bill fell only one short of the two-thirds majority needed in the House to overturn Governor Nixon’s veto of it.

See how House lawmakers voted on the ag bill