Lawmakers set to review vetoes

Sunday, September 7, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:35 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — On Wednesday, Missouri lawmakers will begin consideration of 26 non-budget bills the governor vetoed last spring.

Gov. Bob Holden’s vetoes amount to the largest number of vetoes by a governor in more than 40 years and cover some of the most controversial issues in Missouri, including abortion and guns.

The legislative veto session is limited to 10 days, so it must adjourn Sept. 19. An override requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.

Three vetoes have been overridden since 1976, after the constitution was amended to allow veto sessions. The last veto overridden was the late Gov. Mel Carnahan’s veto of a bill, now law, to prohibit partial-birth abortions.

The vetoed bills this year are:

  • HB 156: Would require a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion. Holden, an abortion-rights supporter, promised early in the session that he would veto the bill because it would interfere with a woman’s right to an abortion.
  • HB 257: Would allow tax credits for donations to an agricultural “New Generation Cooperative Incentive” to be taken on a quarterly rather than annual basis. In his veto message, the governor raised objections to various changes in environmental regulations that were tacked onto the bill.
  • HB 349: Would legalize the carrying of a concealed weapons for people over age 23 who underwent training and pass a criminal background check. Holden has been a consistent opponent of legalizing concealed weapons.
  • HB 357: Would impose an additional requirement before the Transportation Department could condemn land. In his veto message, Holden said an amendment stuck onto the bill for a sales tax exemption for materials purchased by the department would have severely decreased revenue to the state.
  • HB 375 and SB 425: Two bills that would designate the responsibility of writing death certificates and performing autopsies to the coroner in the county from where the person was transported. Holden said he vetoed the bill because it failed to specify which coroner would be responsible when a person was transported between states.
  • HB 478 and HB 493: Two bills that would create specialty license plates for contributors to the Optimist Club and to the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers. Holden said creating another specialty license plate would cost the state money and he cited objections that have been raised by public safety officials to the growth of specialty plates. There now are more than 100.
  • HB 594: Would allow voters to dissolve road districts within their counties. Holden wrote that he vetoed the bill because it would allow voters who do not live within the district to vote to eliminate the road districts.
  • HB 598: Would allow small trucks to have specialty license plates. In his veto message, Holden cited complaints from Missouri law enforcement officers and the estimated cost of more than $125,000.
  • HB 679: A broad foster-care and child abuse bill passed in response to a couple of recent child deaths. Holden said one part of the bill would make it more difficult to identify a person as a likely child abuser.
  • SB 2: A number of changes in unemployment compensation coverage and regulation. Holden charged the bill would benefit employers at the expense of unemployed workers and would prevent unemployment benefit increases for several years.
  • SB 7: Would transfer a portion of the Katy Trail to the Sedalia School District. Holden’s veto message said the sale violated the spirit of the Katy Trail and might violate the National Trails System Act.
  • SB 13: Would require St. Louis to drop its lawsuit against gun manufacturers and prohibit similar lawsuits by municipalities in the future. Holden charged the bill was an “attempt to grant a special favor to the gun and ammunition industries …at the expense of the existing rights of a private citizen.”
  • SB 29: Would forbid a candidate from withdrawing from an election race after the deadline for withdrawal. Holden said the bill violated the constitutional separation of powers by attempting to restrict what courts could decide in campaign withdrawal cases.
  • SB 69: Would create a Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board to review small business complaints. Holden said the bill’s wording gave it overreaching powers to block agency rule making.
  • SB 84: Would allow tax credits for an agricultural “New Generation Cooperative Incentive” to be taken on a quarterly rather than an annual basis. Holden said reprogramming the accounting system to handle the revised payment system would cost the state money.
  • SB 250: Would allow Jefferson City to seek voter approval for sales tax law enforcement. Holden said the wording would allow the funds to be used for other purposes.
  • SB 280: Intended to curb the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance, the bill would limit non-economic awards in liability lawsuits. Holden complained the bill covered all liability cases, not just medical ones. He also said the bill would make it more difficult for an injured person to receive “simple justice.”
  • SB 358: Would shift the responsibility for the costs of elections in Platte County. Holden said the language was dangerously ambiguous.
  • SB 401: Would transfer $250,000 from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to the state forensic laboratory. Holden’s veto message cited a “precarious financial condition” of the Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
  • HB 278 and 376 and SB 203 and 224: Four bills the governor vetoed because they were similar or identical to bills he had signed earlier.

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