The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted during Wednesday’s veto session to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s line-item budget vetoes and many of the bills he vetoed, including a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. Nixon said at a news conference last week that the legislators would be acting irresponsibly if they overrode vetoes and authorized new government spending because there isn’t enough revenue in the state budget to cover the costs. Republican lawmakers didn’t listen.
The General Assembly failed to override only a handful of Nixon’s vetoes in a predictably wild session at the Capitol that extended well past midnight.
The first major veto to be overridden was a bill that would have prevented e-cigarettes from being taxed and regulated as a tobacco product. The bill will create a tax on e-cigarettes and tobacco vapor products and limit the sale of e-cigarettes to those ages 18 and older.
One of the only bills that Republicans couldn’t get enough votes to override was the multifaceted agriculture legislation referred to as the farm bill. Nixon said he vetoed the bill because of his objections to an amendment that would change the definition of captive deer from wildlife to livestock and transfer regulation of the penned animals from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture.
The legislation included an act designed to bring new farmers into the dairy business and to help Missouri’s dairy farmers meet their costs when bad weather ruins feed crops. It also featured several provisions aimed at helping the state’s cattle industry.
Early in the day the House and Senate overturned line-item budget vetoes for everything from funding to eradicate asian carp to funding for defibrillators for emergency responders.
Nixon vetoed what he called the “Friday Favors,” tax exemptions passed at the end of the session last May that the governor said could cause the state to lose $776 million in state and local sales taxes.
As a result of another vote Wednesday night, state unemployment benefits will remain 20 weeks long. The legislature rejected a bill that would have decreased the duration of state unemployment payments to between 13 and 19 weeks.
The General Assembly overrode 10 vetoes last year, and overrode Nixon’s veto of a $620 million income tax cut last month.