“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Sept. 13: To Override or Not to Override

Every year, the Legislature has the opportunity to revisit any of the bills that were vetoed by the governor. It is a part of our system of checks and balances. Depending on the need for the legislation in question, lawmakers may decide to override a governor’s veto. This year will be no different, when the Missouri General Assembly returns to the Capitol for the annual veto session on Sept. 15.

A great deal of time and effort is put into every piece of legislation created by the lawmakers who serve in the Missouri General Assembly. Lawmakers pre-file bills throughout the interim, those months between the middle of May and the end of the year, between regular legislative sessions. These measures are assigned their official bill numbers on Dec. 1. Then, all legislation is thoroughly vetted during session, from research on the legal aspects of a proposal, to public hearings, to discussion on the floor of the Missouri Senate and/or House. If a bill is approved by the Legislature, the governor then has time to pour over the legislation and then decide if he will sign it, veto it or let it become law without a signature.

This year, there were four bills that were vetoed. Along with these, there were several line items in the appropriations bills for the current fiscal year that were vetoed. The Legislature also has the option to override line-item vetoes, if they so choose. After lawmakers gavel in on Sept. 15, the sponsors of the vetoed bills can choose to take up the legislation to consider an override, or choose not to. If the decision is made to override, at least two-thirds of the members in each chamber have to vote “yes” to overturn the veto.

If this year’s vetoes are not overridden, I would expect the sponsors of the legislation in question to try again next year, since the governor indicated he is not totally against any of the bills in question, just certain parts of the bills. The veto session proves our system of government works, and it gives an extra layer of protection to ensure state government is doing all it can for each and every Missourian.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.