JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lawmakers attempted to override the Governor’s veto on HCB 3 during veto session Wednesday but failed to reach the required two-thirds majority. Several Democrats spoke on the bill, asking for a special session and hoping to persuade Republicans to vote in favor of a veto override. Republican leaders announced they will be working to find a solution before October to refinance the health services in HCB 3 which the veto cut.
After initial formalities, which recognized the anniversary of the death of a fire chief who responded to 9/11 and the swearing in of Sara Walsh, Democrat Rep. Deb Lavender took up a motion to attempt to override the veto on HCB 3. She spoke about how the state has the $34.5 million in the treasury to cover the cost, but the decision to not finance their services “will hang on all of our heads.” Democrat Rep. Ingrid Burnett agreed, speaking from personal experience that health services for the elderly would have prevented her brother from selling all of his possessions to pay for it.
Democrat Rep. Ingrid Burnett agreed, speaking from personal experience that health services for the elderly would have prevented her brother from selling all of his possessions to pay for it.
“This is a matter of human decency and common good that we can take care of with this override. I couldn’t be more proud to stand with this caucus that has stood up for this alternative funding to prevent this change of care that is so necessary for these patients,” she said.
When HCB 3 was in the General Assembly this past session, it received bipartisan support in both chambers, but the efforts to override the veto were taken up by only Democrats, while the Governor’s veto was defended by Republicans.
Republican Rep. Justin Alferman felt that overriding the veto would not do anything even if it passed. Hypothetically, if the legislators were able to sweep the funds from the treasury, Greitens could simply withhold the funds and the services would not get funded anyway.
Alferman wants to find an optimum solution so seniors could get the care they need, but in a way so the Missouri legislature could be fiscally and constitutionally responsible. Democrat Rep. Peter Meredith hoped to convince Republican House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick to call the House into a special session. Fitzpatrick instead promised that he would craft a new bill that would restore funding to health services to the 8,000 vulnerable Missourians before October.
Following the vote not to override the veto, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said in a press conference that “we’ve had all summer to work on this,” and questioned Fitzpatrick’s ability to come up with a solution.
Fitzpatrick seemed confident and said that the issue was not over.
“I’ve already started to have conversations with Republicans and Democrats, members of the Senate. Do I think it’s possible to get to a place where we can put something on the table that can pass? I think it’s absolutely possible, but it takes many willing participants,” he said in the veto session.
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer