The other session

The Missouri legislature is in session(s) as of noon Wednesday.

That’s right.  Two sessions at the same time.

The regular veto session is held about this time every year to consider overturning the governor’s vetoes of bills passed in the spring.  Sometimes governors call special sessions to consider issues that didn’t get done in the spring or didn’t get done correctly or didn’t even get brought up.

This is the third time in 14 years that we’ve had two sessions running at the same time.  Governor Carnahan called one that lasted from September 8-24, 1997. The veto session ran from September 10-12.

Governor Holden called a special session from September 8-12, 2003.  The veto session was September 10-12.

Governor Blunt’s special session ran from September 6-15. The veto session needed only the 14th to meet its responsibilities.

It’s more economical to run the two sessions at the same time.  Lawmakers already are in Jefferson City so there’s only one per diem, uh, per diem.  The legislative staffs don’t have to put in a lot of hours twice — just once.  And the two-for-one legislative session is less disruptive for lawmakers and others.

This year’s special session is not expected to be a long one but it does have a bunch of bills to consider.  By our count, the governor vetoed 14 bills and did a line-item veto in one bill.  One bill already has been overridden — the “dead lizard” congressional redistricting bill.

Two thirds of the members of the House and two-thirds of the members of the senate have to vote to override for the bill to become law, the governor’s objections not withstanding.

Eight of the bills are House bills. Four of the bills duplicate or similar language of other bills he signed.  That leaves three House bills in play–184 (authorizes pay for certain road district commissioner, 430 (an omnibus transportation bill that the governor says hampers abilities of local communities to regulate billboards, 484 (establishing a program to help public mass transportation services, 1008 (highway and transportation funds going to counties for infrastructure work.

Look for the hottest efforts top come out of the Senate. Governor Nixon vetoed an omnibus election bill (SB282)that, among many other things, changes the date of the presidential primary — some senators would rather try to override this bill than to pass a SPECIAL session bill that just sets the primary date.

Another one likely to get a good talking-about is SB3, the voter photo ID bill.  Others: SB 118 that delays for three years-plus the implementation of a law already four years old requiring long-term residential care facilities to install sprinkler systems, 163, (changing the  composition of the University of Missouri Board of Curators and the board at Missouri State University, both of which base membership on congressional districts of which we are going to lose one with next year’s elections), 188 (a modification of the state human rights act and employment discrimination laws), 220 (which changes the law on liens for architects, land surveyors, and professional engineers), and finally the line item budget veto that took  $30,000 out of the mental health budget to reimburse Boone County for legal fees that the governor says the county is not entitled to get).

All of these bills passed by wide margins in both chambers in the spring, largely because of the heavy Republican majorities.

If the legislature overrides all of these vetoes, Jay Nixon could become the most overridden governor in Missouri history.

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