JEFFERSON CITY — Today, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that questions the validity of legislation that ties Missouri’s unemployment rate to the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available. To hear the oral arguments, click here.
The High Court is not asked to consider the concept of the legislation, but rather the process in which the bill became law. Gov. Nixon vetoed the bill on May 5, while the General Assembly was still in session. The Missouri House voted to override the veto the bill on May 12. The Missouri Senate overrode the veto during the September veto session.
Plaintiffs argue that the Constitution only allows the legislature to override a veto during the September veto session if the veto occurs within the last five days or after the legislative session. (The governor vetoed the bill the day before the five day window). In defense, attorneys for the State of Missouri argue that the language in the Constitution creates a veto session, but does not limit what vetoed bills may be considered. The State further argued that activity not prohibited by the Constitution is constitutional under the plenary powers of the Senate. The Constitution does not explicitly prohibit the Senate’s override vote in September.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is watching the case closely. As a lead advocate of House Bill 150, the Missouri Chamber strongly supported the bill designed to stabilize Missouri’s Unemployment Trust Fund, which has borrowed funds from the federal government during the last five economic downturns, costing employers millions of dollars in interest.
The Supreme Court did not rule on the case. A ruling is expected in the next several weeks.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 50,000 employers.