“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Sept. 12: A Final Return to Jefferson City

Part of our system of checks and balances includes giving the Legislature the ability to override vetoes the governor makes to legislation the Missouri General Assembly sends to him. If a bill is vetoed during the regular legislative session, lawmakers can opt to override the veto while still in session; otherwise, 10 days are set aside in September for the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives to come back to the Capitol and consider any of the vetoes made after regular session adjourns in May.

When the governor vetoes any piece of legislation, he normally includes a veto letter, which spells out exactly why he made his decision. Sometimes, a veto is made simply because there was a spelling or grammatical error that changes the meaning of a bill. Sometimes, it may be over a certain amendment added to the original bill with which he disagrees. Other times, it is because the governor does not like any aspect of the legislation. These are all his legal prerogatives.

Another important aspect of the veto is the ability for the governor to veto line items in appropriations bills. This is necessary to keep the state operating and for balancing the budget, which is ultimately the executive branch’s responsibility. Vetoing a line item, rather than the entire bill, can mean the difference between keeping services flowing for vulnerable Missourians and having to pause services until veto session.

This year, the governor said “no” to four measures and several line items in appropriations legislation. Veto session will start at noon on Sept. 14, at which point the sponsors of the vetoed legislation will have the option to move to bring a vetoed bill to the floor of either the Missouri House or Senate, depending on where the measure started. It takes a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override the governor’s veto.

Among the measures vetoed is Senate Bill 724, which I sponsored. This is a transparency proposal, which would make how county governments spend money easier to track. In his veto letter, the governor explains how certain parts of this measure would be contrary to the Missouri Constitution; however, there are aspects of the bill in other legislation that will proceed as state law. I agree with this assessment and do not plan to bring the bill up for override consideration.

After we finish our work this month, I will then be back at home in northwest Missouri for the last, remaining months of my time in the Missouri Senate. I look forward to speaking with constituents and learning of your concerns as we move through the end of the year.

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.