Wrapping Up Legislative Activity
The Missouri General Assembly hit two birds with one stone this past week, as lawmakers completed the annual veto session and wrapped up work on an extra session called by the governor.
The annual veto session was held on Wednesday, Sept. 16. This usually day-long session provides the General Assembly with the opportunity to consider overturning any of the governor’s vetoes on legislation from the regular legislative session earlier in the year. In order to do this, however, at least two-thirds of both chambers must approve of the override motion.
As we all know, the regular legislative session was interrupted due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in March. Still, the General Assembly was able to pass several pieces of important legislation, as well as a balanced state operating budget for the 2021 Fiscal Year. After reviewing the bills passed by the General Assembly, the governor ended up vetoing two bills and 17 line items in the budget. One bill vetoed by the governor was Senate Bill 718. This bill contained a wide range of provisions relating to veterans, as well as proposed the creation of the Department of Military Forces. The other bill vetoed in full was House Bill 1854, which made several changes to local governments.
After gaveling in for veto session, the House of Representatives successfully moved to overturn one of the governor’s line-item vetoes to House Bill 2004. While approved by the House, the override motion was not taken up in the Senate, thus failing. No other overrides were made in either the House or the Senate, resulting in an uneventful veto session.
As I said earlier, the General Assembly also wrapped up its work on an extra session called by the governor to address violent crime. During the extra session, lawmakers passed two key measures. House Bill 66 creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Services Fund, which will provide law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to protect witnesses and their immediate families during investigations. House Bill 46 temporarily lifts the residency requirements for police officers in the City of St. Louis, with the hopes of solving the city’s shortage of police officers. Together, I believe these bills make our state safer and put more dangerous criminals behind bars.
While the Legislature has concluded its work on these two sessions, know that my office continues to be available to serve you. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076 if you have questions about your state government or need assistance. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.