Senator Caleb Rowden’s Legislative Column for the Week of Sept. 18: Veto Session

Rowden Column Banner

As happens each September, last week lawmakers gathered in Jefferson City for veto session. Veto session is a chance for lawmakers to pass any legislation the governor may have vetoed.

The governor vetoed five measures passed during the regular session. In order to override a governor’s veto, lawmakers must approve each vetoed bill by a two-thirds vote in order for it to become law. There were no votes taken to override a veto this week.

Probably the highest-profile measure that could have been taken up for consideration is House Committee Bill 3. This legislation would have authorized the commissioner of the Office of Administration to do a one-time sweep of $35.4 million in unused funds from Missouri’s various boards, agencies and commissions. The money would then be deposited into the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund to help provide in-home and nursing care services. Although HCB 3 passed with bipartisan support in both chambers, the House fell about 25 votes short of the two-thirds majority required to override the governor’s veto. Since it did not make it out of the House during veto session, the Senate never had a chance to vote on it.

However, leadership in both chambers have established a work group tasked with finding a funding solution that will preserve the much needed in-home and nursing care for more than 8,000 disabled Missourians.

None of the other vetoed legislation was ever brought up for a vote in the Senate. However, while gathered in Jefferson City, the Senate did make a motion to censure a fellow lawmaker.

The recent comments made online by one of our state senators was not only unacceptable, but it threatened the integrity of the Senate. Expressing a desire for violence against the President is egregious, unfitting and unbecoming conduct for a senator.

We had hoped Sen. Chappelle-Nadal would realize the seriousness of her statements, take responsibility for her words and resign on her own accord. However, since that was not the case, the Senate prepared several options afforded in the Missouri Constitution and the Senate Rules to address the situation. The Senate retains the sole right and responsibility to discipline its members for disorderly conduct.

By a vote of 28-2, the Senate has censured Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, effective immediately. The censure also urges her to resign or face possible expulsion in the future. We also urge the Senator to conduct herself in a manner that respects the long-standing traditions of the Missouri Senate and to respect her position as a senator by refraining from actions or words that incite or encourage violence.

Censuring a sitting member has never been done in the history of the Missouri Senate. It is not something the Senate takes lightly.

I was pleased to be in Jefferson City last week when members of the General Assembly celebrated the 100th anniversary of receiving the keys to the Capitol.  The Friends of the Missouri State Museum and the Missouri State Capitol Commission sponsored a reception to commemorate the anniversary on Wednesday, September 13. One hundred years ago, the State Capitol Commission Board received keys to the nearly complete Missouri State Capitol. Lawmakers and members of the public gathered in the rotunda on the third floor of the Capitol for the event. This special reception served as the finale to a series of centennial events commemorating construction of the Capitol building.

In the last month our country has seen billions of dollars of destruction following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It does not appear as though the threat of more damage is over as several other hurricanes seems to be making their way toward Florida.

To ensure volunteer and donation efforts are meeting the actual needs of hurricane victims across the country, FEMA has compiled the following tips to help make the most of your contributions:

  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating. It offers volunteer organizations the greatest flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and also pumps money back into local economies, helping these hard-hit areas recover faster. Furthermore, FEMA discourages donations of unsolicited goods, such as used clothing, household items, medicine or perishable food.
  • Donate through a trusted organization. For volunteer options, FEMA suggests going to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster(NVOAD) website.
  • Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can easily become overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.
  • Be safe. Do not self-deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified.
  • Be patient. Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media’s attention to the disaster. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster — especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.

I ask each of you reading this to please keep the victims of the recent hurricanes, as well as all those assisting with search, rescue and recovery efforts, in your thoughts and prayers. And I encourage you to help in any way you can if you are in a position to do so.

I am here to serve you, and my office door is always open to your questions, concerns and suggestions. You can reach my staff at 573-751-3931 and an array of legislative and constituent resources at