Effort to save lawsuit limits blocked

Votes fall short of majority needed to override veto on home builder bill.
Thursday, September 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:24 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — On a near party-line vote, the Missouri Senate sustained Gov. Bob Holden’s veto of a bill to impose restrictions on lawsuits against home builders.

The measure fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary for an override: 21 senators favored the override, 11 opposed it, and two were absent.

Earlier this year the bill had passed the Senate 29 to 3.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, made the override motion.

“I would like to remind everyone that the legislation was sponsored by numerous Democrats and Republicans in the Missouri Senate,” he said.

Kinder argued that 23 states have laws that protect homeowners, “placing affirmative obligations on the home builder.”

Under the measure, a lawsuit could not be filed against a builder until he or she had been given the right to respond to a homeowner’s written complaint.

No member of the Senate argued in support of the override, although all but two of the chamber’s Democrats voted to sustain the veto.

Some of the Senate’s Democrats had co-sponsored the original bill, including the Senate Democratic Leader Maida Coleman of St. Louis.

Coleman said she voted to sustain the governor’s veto out of a sense of responsibility and loyalty toward a same-party governor.

“I believe that my role is different now than when I was co-sponsor of the bill,” she said. “As minority leader I feel that I am the leader of this caucus, and you have do things a different way.”

Sen. Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis, was one of only two Democrats who voted to override the veto.

“I met with both sides, looked at the legislation again and voted for the consumer,” Kennedy said.

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