COLUMBIA — Missouri lawmakers have one last chance to make law from legislation that Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed earlier this year. The General Assembly’s annual veto session is scheduled for Sept. 12.
States’ rights, religious freedom and women’s health will converge to drive the debate over Senate Bill 749, which provides protection for employers' religious beliefs in regard to the imposition of certain health-care services and is likely to face a final vote. Chances are good that taxation of vehicles purchased out of state also will be put to the test. Arguments about business competitiveness and accusations of retroactive taxation promise to see House Bill 1329 — regarding the issuance of temporary permit tags and the collection of sales taxes on motor vehicles, trailers, boats and outboard motors — buffeted back and forth across the proverbial aisle.
Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, who is minority floor leader in the House, said he anticipates the vote on SB 749 to be tense. Still, he thinks there's a good chance the legislature will override the governor's veto and pass the bill.
"I would anticipate that one is going to be the most difficult to sustain the governor's veto," Talboy said. "It's probably the most fueled and emotional type of bill that we're going to see in veto session."
In the Senate, Majority Leader and SB 749 co-sponsor Tom Dempsey, R-St. Peters, also thinks an override of the veto is probable. He is less certain about HB 1329. There have been instances, he said, when votes for a bill during the regular session did not translate to override votes during the veto session.
"If they had a desire to support their governor, then the House would not have the votes to override that bill," he said.
An unusual addition to this year’s veto session will be election of a new House Speaker. Rep. Steven Tilley stepped down from that post earlier in August. House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is widely expected to be elected by his colleagues as their new leader.
The veto session is scheduled to start at noon Sept. 12 at the Capitol in Jefferson City. As with all sessions of the legislature, it is open to the public. The Missouri Constitution allows up to 10 days for veto business, but House Clerk Adam Crumbliss expects lawmakers to wrap up in just one.
It takes a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate to override a veto by the governor. Legislators do not have to announce in advance if they intend to attempt an override. So, while plenty of discussion surrounds the two likely override attempts now, and a third is possible, two weeks and the chance of last-minute action on the floor leaves plenty of room for surprises.
Following is a list of the bills Nixon vetoed, with brief descriptions of their content. The full text of the bills, Nixon’s veto messages for each and sponsors’ profiles can be found by following the links online.
Override attempt likely
All House and Senate leaders from both parties who were contacted for this story expected the following bills to come up for an override vote.
- HB 1329: Sponsored by 38th District Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City. This modifies the law regarding the issuance of temporary permit tags and the collection of sales taxes on motor vehicles, trailers, boats and outboard motors.
- SB 749: Sponsored by 24th District Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis. This provides protection for employers' religious beliefs in regard to the imposition of certain health-care services such as abortion, contraception or sterilization.
Override attempt possible
Talboy said that he had heard “rumblings” of SB 837 being brought up for an override vote. Dempsey responded that the possibility is in discussion.
- SB 837: Sponsored by Dempsey. This modifies what is considered to be a franchise between alcohol wholesalers and suppliers.
Override attempt unlikely at this time
None of the House or Senate leaders from either party expected the following bills to face the possibility of a veto override. Legislators have until the time of the session to decide whether to challenge a veto.
- HB 1219: Sponsored by 141st District Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa. This changes the laws regarding unlawful discriminatory employment practices as they relate to the Missouri Human Rights Act and establishes the Whistleblower Protection Act.
- HB 1250: Sponsored by 132nd District Rep. Don Ruzicka, R-Mount Vernon. This allows the city of Farmington to prohibit smoking by ordinance, allows third-class cities to eliminate primaries for mayor and council races by ordinance and changes several dates and protocols regarding elections.
- HB 1758: Sponsored by 134th District Rep. Thomas Long, R-Battlefield. This modifies provisions relating to custody and visitation rights for those with a parent-child relationship, military parents and race consideration in adoption proceedings.
- HB 1789: Sponsored by 115th District Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles. This changes the laws regarding travel hardships for public school students.
- HB 1900: Sponsored by 1st District Rep. Craig Redmon, R-Canton. This changes the laws regarding executive branch reorganization, tax-increment financing, annexation, employees, service dogs and accessible parking. It also establishes the Iran Energy Divestment Act.
- HB 2004: Sponsored by Silvey. This appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds and distributions of the Missouri Departments of Revenue and Transportation.
- HB 2007: Sponsored by Silvey. This appropriates money for the expenses and distributions of the Missouri Departments of Economic Development; Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; and Labor and Industrial Relations. Nixon used his line-item veto privilege on this legislation; he did not veto it entirely.
- HB 2010: Sponsored by Silvey. This appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds and distributions of the Missouri Departments of Mental Health and the Health and Senior Services. Nixon also used his line-item veto privilege on this legislation.
- SB 566: Sponsored by 16th District Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla. This requires owners of dogs and cats that are suspected of having rabies to provide documentation of vaccination or else surrender the animal.
- SB 569: Sponsored by 8th District Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit. This modifies the law relating to elections, law enforcement districts and transit authority taxes.
- SB 572: Sponsored by Dempsey. This states that occupational diseases are exclusively covered under workers' compensation laws and that co-employees shall be released from all liability for workplace injuries or death for which compensation is recoverable under the workers' compensation statutes.
- SB 607: Sponsored by 21st District Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton. This establishes procedures for resetting billboards during periods of highway construction.
- SB 635: Sponsored by 31st District Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg. This modifies the law relating to financial institutions, school funds, private roads, real estate appraisal, agricultural education programs, liens and state purchasing preferences.
- SB 715: Sponsored by Kraus. This allows the adjutant general to waive the age limit for service in the state militia and repeals a complaint procedure for the state militia.
Supervising editor Scott Swafford.