Every year, the Missouri General Assembly returns to Jefferson City in September to reconsider any legislation vetoed by the governor. This is part of our system of checks and balances. Ordinarily, a veto session is wrapped up in one day; however, by law, a veto session can last up to 10 days.
This year, as we all know, has been anything but ordinary. During the regular session, which runs from the beginning of January through mid-May, lawmakers considered a much smaller number of bills because of the coronavirus pandemic. Along these same lines, the number of measures that was vetoed by the governor is a lot smaller than it tends to be in normal years.
This year, the governor only vetoed two pieces of legislation, not counting line items to budget bills.
Senate Bill 718 would have made changes to some laws related to military affairs. In his veto letter, the governor explained how this measure would have created a new department under the Missouri National Guard, which would violate the state constitution.
House Bill 1854 would have made changes to certain laws governing individual cities in our state. The governor claimed he could not sign this proposal because of the large amount of different items contained in it, some of which were not heard in committee before being added to the bill.
It remains to be seen if these vetoes will be overridden. More likely, in my opinion, the changes outlined in these bills may wait to be considered again during next year’s legislative session.
In the meantime, the legislature is still working through an extraordinary session to address violent crime in our state. Late last month, lawmakers sent two of the extra session bills to the governor for his approval.
Following the Senate’s actions, the Missouri House of Representatives is now considering three other extra session bills passed by the upper chamber. The extra session started July 27. By law, an extraordinary session can run for up to 60 days.