Missouri Senate votes to override veto on workers' compensation

Thursday, March 29, 2012 | 4:09 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate voted Thursday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill to change the state's workers' compensation laws.

The legislation would prohibit employees from suing co-workers for injuries they sustain on the job and bar them from taking to court any claims related to chronic ailments that they catch as a result of work.

Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the measure earlier this month. Senators voted 24-9 to override the veto.

"I think it's imperative that we address the problems of people getting sued for co-employee liability," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, who sponsored the workers compensation legislation. "Failing the governor sitting down with us and telling us what he will accept, we have to move forward."

The bill is a priority for Republican legislative leaders and business groups. They say it would make Missouri more business-friendly and spur job creation because entrepreneurs and companies looking to expand into the state would feel that they face less risk of being involved in costly, time-consuming litigation.

The legislation tweaks a 2005 law that overhauled Missouri's workers' compensation system.

Officially overriding a veto also requires a two-third vote of the 163-member House. House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, has indicated that the House will not vote on a veto override. He thinks it would be a waste of time because it was not approved with a veto-proof majority in that chamber.

The House approved the measure with only 87 votes, just five more than was needed to get a majority in that chamber.


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