Democrats believe they enjoyed several successes in this week’s veto session despite ten overrides by the Republican majority.
Key among what they consider wins is the failure by House backers of “right to work” to come up with enough votes to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto of that bill.
“I think it’s a real significant victory and a very important moment of history,” Nixon said Thursday. “Workers rights are important. Paying people a fair wage is important. Allowing people to organize is important,. and the benefits that come from that are shared by union and non-union households alike. The work of organized union labor has gotten us a tremendous number of very positive things we take for granted now. A 40-hour work week, child labor laws, maternity leave policies.”
Republicans say “right to work” will become law in Missouri, with Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) calling it a “matter of time.”
Republicans did vote to overturn Nixon’s veto of a bill that reduces unemployment benefits to as few as 13 weeks depending on the state unemployment rate. Nixon expects that law to end up in court, however. He and other critics say because of when he vetoed it, the veto overturn vote should have been taken before the end of the regular session in May.
“We’ll look at what the legal uncertainties are about that as the days go forward, but those things don’t take effect for at least 30 days and some provisions of it don’t start until January, so we should have plenty of time to get a review of how that can be dealt with,” said Nixon.
Nixon said he doesn’t plan to sue the legislature over the procedural issue.
“It would not surprise me to see folks want to litigate about it but I’m not going to be having government suing government to decide things of that nature. I think we’ve got enough to do with our limited tax dollars rather than spending them on lawyers to try to settle our fights between branches of government,” said Nixon.
Another veto overridden by Republicans was on a bill that would bar cities from increasing their minimum wage to a rate greater than the state’s, and from banning stores in their borders from using plastic bags. Missouri House Democrat leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) expects that will also be challenged in court.
“Any time that you’re trying to block municipalities from enacting ordinances that they clearly have the ability to under state statute, I think those are some very real, tangible things that some areas of the state are going to care about,” said Hummel.
Hummel said with the possibility of those legal challenges plus the failure of the “right to work” bill, “I really couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.”