“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Sept. 19: Fulfilling Constitutional Duties

Each year, lawmakers spend a scheduled amount of time in Jefferson City. The first period happens between early January and the middle of May, when the Missouri General Assembly holds its regular legislative session. Then, usually during the second or third week in September, legislators go back to the Capitol to consider whether they wish to override any of the governor’s vetoes on the bills that were successful during the regular session.

We are in the process of completing the second half of this equation.

The annual veto session started on Sept. 14. As I mentioned last week, there were four measures that received the “thumbs down” from the governor this year, plus several individual line items in appropriations bills that comprise the state operating budget. Each sponsoring senator or representative has the right to ask for an override of a veto, as much as he or she has the right to agree with the executive branch and either try again next year or hope similar language is in another bill that became law.

Among the measures vetoed was 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. We are waiting on the Missouri House of Representatives to see if members there decide to take up any of the other legislation that was vetoed this year.

Giving the Legislature the opportunity to reconsider action taken by the executive branch is a vital part of our system of checks and balances. It gives lawmakers a second chance to right a wrong, or provide a service for constituents that may not happen otherwise. I was glad to see a small number of bills get vetoed. At the same time, I understand the reasons given for these vetoes. This points, again, to our representative republic, which — all told — still works really well.

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.