AP’S 5 Things to know About the Veto Session
September 13, 2013

Here are five things to know from Missouri’s veto session:


The Republican-controlled Legislature overrode 10 of the Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s 33 vetoes. The resulting new laws restrict lawsuits, allow elected officials to vote during meetings by videoconference, and increase the maximum punishment for stealing livestock. They also will replace the state’s ban on foreign ownership of farmland with a 1 percent cap while requiring state approval, prevent officials from barring celebration of federal holidays, and increase the allowed maximum fee for installment loans. Also overridden were a budget item, a bill dealing with foster parents and a measure designed to safeguard county budgets from some clerical errors. However, vetoes were sustained for bills that sought to cut taxes; nullify some federal gun laws; require that public employees give annual consent before union dues are collected; broaden what constitutes misconduct for unemployment benefits; bar policies infringing property rights that are traceable to a United Nations resolution; and preventing use of foreign law “repugnant” or “inconsistent” with the Missouri or U.S. constitutions.


Missouri law states that the nine overridden non-budget bills will take effect in 30 days. The 10th override was of Nixon’s veto of a $1 million budget item to help rebuild the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center that was damaged by fire, which was part of the 2014 budget that took effect this past July. However, the governor’s budget director says Nixon is freezing the money, so the money still may not be spent on the project.


Several overrides were decided by a single vote. Five overridden bills reached the bare minimum in either the House or Senate, including a bill to shield volunteer health care providers from lawsuits. It took the House two tries after its initial vote was one short of the mandatory 109 votes. The second go-round reached the minimum mark. Veto overrides were one short in the Senate for legislation dealing with guns and unions. The House was one shy on the bill dealing with foreign laws.


Nixon became the most overridden governor in recent Missouri history. Since Missouri began requiring a two-thirds majority for veto overrides in 1875, the previous single-year high mark was three overrides set in 2003. Missouri’s highest mark for veto overrides came in 1833, when a simple majority was required and legislators overrode a dozen vetoes of bills granting divorces.


Republican legislative leaders fell short on the two bills with the most profile: a tax cut and a gun bill. After the tax cut fell well short of a two-thirds majority in the House, Speaker Tim Jones called it a “temporary setback” and was joined by the state’s largest business associations in vowing to try a new tax-cut in 2014. House Majority Leader John Diehl said the outcome was specific to that legislation and that “there are 109 members who support an income tax cut.” On guns, Republican Sen. Brian Nieves said “this fight ain’t over.” Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey voted against overriding the gun veto because of concerns about constitutionality and how it would affect local police and prosecutors, but he said he would help fast track a gun-rights bill next year.

Missouri Veto Session Starts at Noon, Border War Tax Cuts & Gun Law Top Long List of Bills
September 11, 2013

(AP) — A Republican push to cut Missouri’s income taxes is facing resistance as lawmakers convene Wednesday to decide whether to override a bevy of vetoes by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The income tax cut was the marquee accomplishment this year of Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature, which touted it as a means of spurring the economy and competing with recent tax cuts in Kansas, Oklahoma and other states.

But Nixon vetoed the bill in June and embarked on an aggressive summer campaign in defense of his decision. The governor said the potential loss of hundreds of millions of tax dollars could jeopardize funding for education, mental health care and other services. He also warned that seniors and the sick could suffer from a drafting error that would impose state sales taxes on prescription drugs.

The tax cut bill was the most high-profile issue among Nixon’s 33 vetoes, which also included legislation attempting to nullify some federal gun control laws.

The Republican-led Legislature was also considering whether to override a veto of the legislation by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who asserts that it would violate the U.S. Constitution.

The Missouri legislation is one of the boldest examples yet of what has become a nationwide movement among states to nullify or ignore federal laws with which local officials disagree. A recent Associated Press analysis found that about four-fifths of the states have enacted laws that directly reject or conflict with federal laws on marijuana use, gun control, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses.

The latest Missouri measure would declare invalid any federal policies that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.” Federal authorities who attempt to enforce those laws could face state misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Similar penalties would apply to anyone who publishes identifying information about gun owners.

Nixon vetoed the bill because he said it infringed on First Amendment free speech rights and also violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives precedence to federal laws over conflicting state ones.

Berry Says His Tax Cut Bill override Faces “Steep Hill”
September 9, 2013

Clay County Republican T. J. Berry says his tax cut bill, House Bill 253,may be a few votes short as the veto session approaches later this week.

“I think I’m climbing a pretty steep hill,” said Berry. He sponsored the legislation this year in the House.

Both houses of the legislature must get two-thirds majorities needed to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the measure.

Berry added he thought the issue was “still in doubt”.

The Clay County Republican had asked the Democratic Governor to call a special session of lawmakers to address Nixon’s issues. The Governor rejected the request.

Republicans say Missouri is overdue for cuts in business and personal incomes tax rates. They think lower taxes would help Missouri compete with neighboring states like Kansas, Oklahoma and Tenn.

Nixon has campaigned through Missouri all summer long saying the bill has problems.

The Democrat thinks the measure could costs Missouri’s schools millions of dollars in money lost by reductions in state funds.

Independence School Superintendent Dale Herl says his district could face a loss of up to $5.8 million oper year under the tax cut bill.

He points to language in the measure that adds sales tax to prescriptions and the sale of college text books.

Monday, another group criticized the bill at a Kansas City news conference.

A group called the ‘Coalition for Missouri’s Future’ called on lawmakers to sustain Nixon’s veto of the measure.

Norma Collins of the Missouri Chapter of the American Association of retired persons says the personal tax cut most Missourians would see is about $6. She compared that to buying a hamburger at a fast food restaurant..

T. J. Berry Wants Special Session With Veto Session to Settle Tax Cut Bill Dispute
August 29, 2013

One of the sponsors of the tax cut bill that may prompt a big veto fight next month, wants Governor Jay Nixon to call a special session to deal with the differences.
Clay County Representative T. J. Berry says he’s asking Governor Nixon to call a special session to run at the same time as next month’s veto session.
That session begins on September 11.
Berry says that is the time to take up the disputes between lawmakers and the Governor over the tax cut bill, HB 253.
Republicans says the $700 million dollar bill will cut taxes, and spur Missouri’s economy. They also hope it will allow Missouri to compete economically with bordering states like Kansas.
Governor Nixon vetoed the bill. He has campaigned much of the summer, saying it has major problems.
Nixon thinks the bill will harm education in Missouri.
He also says there is a flaw in the bill that would increase the costs of prescription drugs for older Missourians.
Republicans concede that might be a problem. They maintain, however, it can be repaired by the legislature.
‘Let’s get it done”, said Berry Thursday afternoon.
He says a special session, by law, can last up to 10 days.
Berry believes that is enough time for Republicans in the Legislature and the Democratic Governor, to “address the issues he brought up,” said Berry.
Berry said he decided to move on the special session idea after Attorney General Chris Koster issued an opinion Thursday on the tax cut bill (see previous post).
Koster wrote it is his office’s opinion, there is language in the bill that lets Missouri taxpayers collect tax refunds retroactively for three years prior to the enactment of the bill.
The Koster ruling is viewed as a victory for Nixon and those who oppose the bill.
The September veto session may be one of the biggest showdowns between the Democratic Governor and the Republican majorities in the legislature since Nixon took office.
Nixon has vetoed more than two dozen bills, the most ever after a single session of the legislature since he’s been in office.
House Speaker Tim Jones has indicated lawmakers may try to override most, if not all, of Nixon’s vetoes.

Koster Says His Office is Trying to Avoid “Bias” on. Tax Cut Bill, Says Reply to Speaker’s Request Soon
August 27, 2013

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Attorney General. Chris Koster says he has waited on replying to Speaker Tim Jones request on a legal opinion on the vetoed tax cut bill because “we don’t want to color the objective legal advice we are routinely asked to provide to both political parties,” Koster said Tuesday.
When Jones first asked for an opinion about the legality of a portion of the tax cut bill, the Speaker did not get an opinion from Koster’s office.
“If I would have waded into these waters and then issued an opinion, somebody from the right or the left would take us on over a bias,” Koster said in Kansas City Tuesday afternoon. Koster said Speaker Jones would be “getting a reply in the near future”.
Jones says Koster, as a leading Missouri political figure should weigh in on what Jones calls “the number one policy issue in the state”.
I ask him to make a policy statement ” Jones said.
The Speaker said Tuesday, ” He can put his Attorney General hat aside and
put on his Chris-Koster-running-for-Governor-hat and make a statement about broad based tax relief”.