Veto session

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Next week lawmakers will return to the capitol for the Legislature's annual veto session on Wed., Sept. 15. A September veto session is required by the Missouri Constitution if the governor vetoes any bills passed during the year's legislative session.

Of the 32 Senate bills and 74 House bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor during the regular legislative session, four House bills and one Senate bill received the governor's veto (one budget bill, HB 2007, contains a line-item veto of $300,000). The following bills may be considered for a veto override:

* HB 1831 -- Allows school districts, after 10 years, to sell as surplus any real property that has been donated to it if the donor refuses the district's offer to return it.

* SB 777 -- Allows for the sale of certain financial products and plans associated with certain loan transactions.

* HB 1741 -- Changes the laws regarding a meeting of a board of directors or the executive committee of a corporation.

* HB 2317 -- Requires each member of the General Assembly to be provided with a key, which accesses the State Capitol dome and authorizes the governor to convey certain state property.

* HB 1903 -- Creates the Federal Budget Stabilization Extension Fund to receive money from any legislation enacted by the 111th U.S. Congress.

A simply majority of both chambers was required to initially pass these bills. A two-thirds majority, which is required to override a veto in both the Senate and House, is much more difficult to accomplish. However, if an issue rises to the level where most lawmakers feel strongly enough to counter a veto, it is certainly not impossible. The last time a veto override was successful was in 2003 when legislators voted to overturn three vetoes, allowing Missourians to carry concealed weapons, barring lawsuits against gun manufacturing companies and requiring a waiting period for certain medical procedures related to abortions.

While it is unlikely that a veto override will happen this time around, some individuals in the House are discussing an attempt to overrule the veto of HB 1903, a bill designed to keep track of federal dollars given to Missouri. The governor explained that he vetoed the bill because he thinks it's duplicative of a measure passed in 2009. I believe this measure is necessary to ensure transparency with any additional federal stimulus funding, and to guarantee the funding would be allocated through the appropriations process -- a fundamental duty of the Legislature.

Before the Senate will even consider overturning HB 1903's veto, the House must approve it by a two-thirds majority (which is 109 votes), since the vetoed bill first returns to the originating chamber. I will update you next week on the outcome of the veto session.

This time of year also gives us a chance to say goodbye to retiring members of the Missouri Senate. Term limits prevent 10 senators from running for re-election this year, so the Senate will hold a retirement ceremony in the chamber prior to the veto session for these individuals. It has been a pleasure to serve our state with these loyal public servants, and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with your questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at (866) 277-0882 (toll-free) or (573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.

Sen. David Pearce serves Bates, Cass, Johnson and Vernon counties in the 31st state senatorial district.

Contact Information

Capitol Office

State Capitol Building

Room 419

Jefferson City, MO 65101